Saturday, May 4, 2013
Doubront way off his game, but why?
By Randy Jennings, Special to ESPNBoston.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- All is not right with Felix Doubront's left arm.
Some of the evidence from Friday’s 7-0 loss to Texas:
* His fastball is a few ticks shy of his radar-gun best.
* Multiple two-strike pitches produced only two strikeouts.
* Exploding pitch count. He was at 97 when he left with two out in the fourth inning for an average of 8.8 pitches per out.
The raw numbers tell the story as well. Doubront, now 3-1 after absorbing the loss, gave up 12 hits and six earned runs in 3.2 innings.
"I tried my best, but nothing happened," Doubront said. "It was hard for me, getting two strikes and not putting them away."
The baseball term is "dead arm." Doubront said he’s never had one. Until now.
"I tried my best, but nothing happened," said the 25-year-old Venezuelan. “It was hard for me, getting two strikes and not putting them away."
Doubront said the problem wasn't just velocity, but location as well.
“The Rangers just kind of waited him out," said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “When it got to 3-2, they hit it."
Houston reached Doubront for three earned runs in 6.2 innings in his last start, an 8-4 win on April 27.
“I noticed the past few games he wasn’t throwing 95, but he still has good deception," Saltalamacchia said. “He looks faster than he really is. He may be trying to get it over the plate early to get ahead."
Of the 12 hits Doubront allowed, 10 were singles. It was one of two doubles that sent him to the showers. Adrian Beltre's three-run, two-out double in the fourth broke the game open.
"Beltre gets better the more pitches he sees," Saltalamacchia said. “You really need to get him out on the first couple of pitches."
Red Sox manager John Farrell said the difference he sees in Doubront is “arm speed that is not quite what it has been. You really see it in his curve. A few came in with a loopy shape."
Considering he allowed seven hits in the first three innings, it was surprising that Doubront trailed only 1-0 -- a credit, perhaps, to his grit. But all the pitches over a short period of time took their toll.
“He had multiple guys on base in every inning and they ran the pitch count up," Farrell said. “Once they got over 90 pitches, his ball backed up."
Farrell said it was important not to do anything drastic with his lefty.
Doubront said he will continue to play catch and long toss between starts.
A little relief: Alex Wilson, who didn’t give up a run in his first six relief appearances, was nicked for the second straight game. Wilson allowed an inherited runner to score in the fourth and then was charged with one of his own an inning later. He gave up five of Texas’ 18 hits in 2.2 innings.
Holland sharp: Rangers lefty Derek Holland (2-2) pitched eight shutout innings and held the Red Sox to six hits, all singles.
“He threw a lot of strikes," said Farrell. “He worked both sides of the plate with his fastball, and I thought his change-up was better than I’ve seen it in the past."
Holland recorded at least one strikeout in seven of his eight innings, missing only in the fifth. He got Jacoby Ellsbury twice.