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Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Phil Hughes

09.13.12 at 12:10 pm ET
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Felix Doubront

After a split of one-run games in the first two games of the series, the Red Sox go into Thursday’s rubber match with the struggling Felix Doubront making the start.

The way Doubront (10-8, 5.21 ERA) has pitched as of late is a significant departure from the bottom-of-the-rotation spark he provided at the beginning of the season, holding an ERA under 4.00 in early June. Now, Doubront has given up at least four earned runs in his last five outings and has failed to pitched more than five innings or throw 100 pitches in any of them.

Fortunately for Doubront, he will face a Yankees team that he has historically dominated. In three career starts, in addition to four relief appearances, Doubront has posted a 1-0 record with a 2.70 ERA. Additionally, current Yankees are hitting just .190 against him, although they do have five home runs and a more respectable .392 slugging percentage.

Also going in Doubront’s favor is the fact that his last quality start came against the Yankees on July 29, when he gave up one run over 6 1/3 innings in a 3-2 Red Sox win. However, Doubront’s ERA following that performance (4.37) was almost a full run lower than his current mark. Doubront has seen his numbers slide consistently since the All-Star break, posting a 1-7 record with a 7.22 ERA in that time frame.

Making the start for the Yankees on Thursday night will be the 14-12 Phil Hughes, who, as his high win and loss totals would indicate, has been inconsistent all season.

At times, Hughes (4.13 ERA) has lived up to the potential he showed as a highly touted prospect, but he hasn’t shown the ability to sustain that level of success. The fluctuation of Hughes’ performances has been astonishing from start to start: Three times this season he has given up six or more runs and then proceeded to give up one run or fewer in his following appearance. The end result has been one of Hughes’ better seasons, one in which he has deftly handled the Red Sox in three starts.

Against the Red Sox in 2012, Hughes is 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA, last facing them on Aug. 17, when he gave up four runs (all unearned) over seven innings in a 6-4 Yankees win. Historically, Hughes’ numbers are less impressive. In 19 appearances, including 11 starts, Hughes is 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA against the Red Sox. The numbers are even worse when looking just at his starts in Fenway, where Hughes is 2-4 with 8.26 ERA.

Hughes has been burned the most by Dustin Pedroia, with three home runs, and Jacoby Ellsbury, who has gotten on base more than half the time. As a lineup, the Red Sox are batting .275 against Hughes with an OPS of .832.

Doubront and Hughes already faced off once this season, with both of them getting the start in the second game of a July 7 doubleheader. Doubront was the victor, going 6 1/3 innings and giving up three earned runs in a 9-5 Red Sox win. Hughes had an underwhelming showing, giving up 10 hits but just three runs over 5 1/3 innings.

Yankees vs. Doubront (LHP)

Robinson Cano (11 plate appearances): .000 BA/.091 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Curtis Granderson (11): .200/.273/.500, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts

Russell Martin (11) .250/.455/.750, 1 double, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Nick Swisher (11): .400/.455/.400, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Derek Jeter (10): .200/.200/.200, 3 strikeouts

Mark Teixeira (9): .222/.222/.889, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Andruw Jones (8): .167/.375/.667, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks

Jayson Nix (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Ichiro Suzuki (6): .200/.167/.200, 1 RBI

Alex Rodriguez (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Eduardo Nunez (2): .000/.500/.000, 1 walk

Eric Chavez (1): 1.000/1.000/1.000

Chris Dickerson (1): .000/.000/.000

Red Sox vs. Hughes (RHP)

Dustin Pedroia (26 plate appearances): .250 BA/.308 OBP/.667 SLG, 1 double, 3 home runs, 8 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (17): .385/.529/.538, 2 doubles, 4 walks, 1 strikeout

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (10): .200/.200/.500, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 7 strikeouts

Cody Ross (9): .125/.222/.250, 1 double, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Mike Aviles (8): .250/.250/.250, 1 strikeout

Daniel Nava (7): .143/.143/.143

Scott Podsednik (7): .286/.286/.714, 1 home run, 2 RBIs

Pedro Ciriaco (6): .500/.500/.667, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs

Ryan Kalish (5): .200/.200/.200

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