|Thursday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Philip Humber||04.26.12 at 8:40 am ET|
Felix Doubront and the Red Sox have faced many challenges and setbacks in the brief 2012 season, but perhaps their biggest obstacle yet will be staring them down on the mound Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago — that is, perfection, as the Red Sox will be the first team to face White Sox pitcher Philip Humber since his perfect game Sunday against the Mariners.
It will be yet another tough task in a season full of struggles, as the Red Sox sit at 7-10 and the cellar of the American League East. However, the Sox have won their last three games and will look to continue that steak as they move from Minnesota to Chicago. In their effort to continue their recent winning ways, the Red Sox will be aided on the mound by a pitcher in Doubront who has been something of a pleasant surprise in what has thus far been a disappointing season for the team.
Through three starts, Doubront has a 3.94 ERA, along with 20 strikeouts to seven walks, although all three of his starts have resulted in no-decisions. The left-hander is coming off what might have been his best outing of the season, going six innings and giving up one earned run with seven strikeouts, though he ultimately had nothing to show for it as the Red Sox surrendered a 9-0 lead heading into the sixth inning to lose 15-9 to the Yankees on Sunday.
Doubront has never pitched against the White Sox or in U.S. Cellular Field in what is now his third MLB season. In career road games, he has been less than stellar, going 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 games, only one of which has been a start. That start came in his first start this season on April 9 against the Blue Jays, a game in which he threw five innings and gave up two earned runs.
In addition to never having faced the White Sox in his career, Doubront has never faced a single hitter in the White Sox lineup. Through 17 games in the 2012 season, the White Sox have proven to be a fairly average offense, ranking eighth among American League teams in batting average with the team batting .248.
Humber, the third overall pick in the 2004 MLB draft, has bounced around to four teams since debuting with the Mets in 2006, but he’s coming off the signature moment of his career as he threw the 21st perfect game in major league history against the Mariners.
That performance came in his second game of the season. In his first start, Humber wasn’t quite perfect, but he did have an impressive outing as he went 5 1/3 innings and gave up only one earned run with seven strikeouts against the Orioles. However, as with Doubront against the Yankees, the White Sox squandered a late lead by giving up six runs in the ninth inning, eventually losing 10-4. For the season, Humber is 1-0 with a 0.63 ERA, 16 strikeouts and three walks in two outings.
Unlike Doubront, Humber does have experience against several members of the Red Sox lineup, albeit not an extensive history. Humber has previously faced eight Red Sox batters, but he hasn’t faced a single batter in the Red Sox lineup more than seven times (he has faced both Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis seven times). Overall, current Red Sox batters have hit .222 against him, with six strikeouts and three walks.
The right-handed Humber is in his second season with the White Sox. In 2011, he had a 9-9 record with a 3.75 ERA in 26 starts. At U.S. Cellular Field last season, Humber pitched well, despite what his win-loss record showed, as he went 3-6 with a 3.60 ERA. His first start this season was at home. Against the Red Sox in 2011, Humber made two rather forgettable starts, going 1-1 while giving up eight earned runs in 12 1/3 innings pitched.
Red Sox vs. Humber (RHP)
Adrian Gonzalez (7 plate appearances): .333 BA/.429 OBP/.500 SLG, 2 hits, 1 double, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Kevin Youkilis (7): .286/.286/.286, 2 hits, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Dustin Pedroia (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 RBI, 1 walk
Ryan Sweeney (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 hit, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Marlon Byrd (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk
David Ortiz (5): .200/.200/.200, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
Mike Aviles (2): .500/.500/2.000, 1 home run, 1 RBI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2): .500/.500/1.000, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
White Sox vs. Doubront (LHP)
Doubront has not faced any current White Sox.
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