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Thursday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Kevin Gausman

06.13.13 at 1:32 pm ET
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The Red Sox will make their first trip to Baltimore, sending Felix Doubront to the mound for the first of a four-game set, while rookie right-hander Kevin Gausman gets the call for the Orioles.

Doubront turned in his fourth quality start in as many outings against the Angels on Saturday, going six innings and giving up three runs on six hits. He received the loss, but the start was another promising, solid outing for the 25-year-old.

With that being said, there’€™s still a lot of room for improvement for Doubront. The starter is still averaging around 100 pitches per game, but has reached the seventh inning only twice. He’€™s averaged over a strikeout per inning, but has averaged 4½ walks per nine innings. And Doubront has struggled to put hitters away; when facing Doubront with an 0-2 count, opposing batters are hitting .245/.268/.415, well above the league average of .174/.201/.262 in that situation.

The lefty will be looking for the first win of his career against the Orioles on Thursday, but he hasn’€™t pitched poorly when facing them. In six games (three starts and three relief appearances), Doubront has compiled a 3.13 ERA and 1.087 WHIP. In three starts last season, Doubront allowed six runs in 20 innings while striking out 30 Orioles.

Doubront will be opposed by Gausman, who will be making the fifth start of his major league career. Gausman, who was drafted fourth overall in 2012 by the Orioles, sped through Baltimore’€™s minor league ranks, never making more than eight starts at any level while skipping Triple-A entirely. The righty began the year with Double-A Bowie, going 2-4 with a 3.11 ERA in eight games. When looking at what Gausman has done in his short minor league career, one stat jumps off the page: he’€™s struck out 62 batters (49 in 46 1/3 innings this year) while walking only six batters.

But in just 19 1/3 major league innings, Gausman has already matched his minor league walk total, walking six while fanning 15. Gausman has come out on the losing end of his three decisions, bringing an 8.84 ERA into the game. Major league batters have hit Gausman hard; he’€™s allowed five home runs in four starts, including three in his second start. He’€™s allowed seven runs in two of four starts, with one of those starts being his previous outing against the Rays, in which he gave up seven runs on eight hits and three walks while going 4 1/3 innings. His best game was his start against the Tigers, in which he held a potent Detroit lineup to five hits and one run in six innings.

That’€™s the Gausman the Orioles were hoping for, but for the most part, that’€™s not who they’€™ve seen. Opposing batters have put up a .364/.386/.605 line against the 22-year-old through four games. But plenty of signs point to Gausman figuring things out as the season progresses and he sees more major league hitters. The Red Sox will do their best to figure him out, and they’€™ll see a combination of a fastball that can reach the high-90s and sits around 95-96 mph, a splitter, a sinker in the mid-to-high-90s, and a slider.

Red Sox vs. Gausman (RHP)

No members of the Red Sox have faced Gausman.

Orioles vs. Doubront (LHP)

Adam Jones (12 plate appearances): .167 AVG/.167 OBP/.167 SLG, 6 strikeouts

Chris Davis (11): .500/.545/.900, 1 home run, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, hit by pitch

Matt Wieters (11): .000/.091/.000, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts

J.J. Hardy (10): .000/.100/.000, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Nate McLouth (7): .143/.143/.286, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Manny Machado (6): .600/.667/1.200, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Nick Markakis (4): .750/.750/.750

Steve Pearce (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk

Danny Valencia (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

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

Alexi Casilla, Ryan Flaherty and Taylor Teagarden have not faced Doubront.

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