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Closing Time: Brock Holt, Felix Doubront lead the way in Red Sox win over Orioles 04.19.14 at 4:24 pm ET
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Brock Holt turned in quite a game Saturday afternoon. (AP)

Brock Holt turned in quite a game Saturday afternoon. (AP)

It’s just been two games, but Brock Holt is certainly making his presence felt.

The newly-promoted third baseman followed up an impressive Friday night with the biggest hit of Saturday’s tilt between the Red Sox and Orioles at Fenway Park. Holt rifled a one-out triple into the right-center field gap in the seventh inning, scoring Mike Carp with the go-ahead run from second.

Holt proceeded to race in for the Red Sox’ fourth run on a perfectly executed bunt single down the first base line, getting in under the tag of Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters.

The end result was a 4-2 win for the Red Sox.

Earlier in the seventh, there was some spice added to the day when the benches cleared after David Ross took exception with Orioles pitcher Bud Norris coming close to his head on three bunt attempts. Neither collection of players got near each other, with Ross ultimately striking out two pitches later. The next batter up, Holt, however, offered the ultimate payback for the Red Sox.

Felix Doubront bounced back and gave the Red Sox a solid start, allowing two runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings. Doubront threw 106 pitches after tossing 33 in the first inning in the seven-strikeout, two-walk outing.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ eighth win of the season:


- The Red Sox knotted the game at 1-1 thanks in part to the Jonathan Schoop mishandling a grounder off the bat of Mike Napoli. If fielded cleanly, the Orioles might have been able to execute a 5-4-3, inning-ending double play. Instead, Dustin Pedroia — who drew his fourth walk in the last four games — came across to score.

-Holt continued to play stellar defense, this time charging and short-hopping a slow roller off the bat of Steve Lombardozzi to end the second inning.

- David Ortiz launched his third home run of the season in the fourth inning, giving the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. The blast curled around the right field foul pole and marked the designated hitter’s second hit of the day, having singled off the left field wall in the first.

- Pedroia reached base three times via a single, double and walk. It marked the third time this season the second baseman has reached that many occasions.

- The bullpen came through again for the Red Sox, with Junichi Tazawa holding the Orioles hitless through 1 1/3 innings and Koji Uehara picking up the save, striking out the side.


- Doubront allowed his first first-inning run of the season, giving up a two-out RBI single to Nelson Cruz, scoring Nick Markakis. After reaching via a leadoff singled, Doubront has allowed the leadoff hitter to face seven of 10 times.

- Doubront was cruising after the first until the sixth inning when the Orioles knotted the game at 2-2. Initially it appeared as though the lefty might escape his bases-loaded, two-out jam. But Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter was successful in his first challenge of the season, disputing Nelson Cruz initially being called out on a close play at first after his grounder down the third base line. It was the second RBI of the day for Cruz.

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Saturday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Bud Norris at 9:14 am ET
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The Red Sox will head into the second game of their four-game series with the Orioles on Saturday when they send Felix Doubront to the mound against Bud Norris.

Doubront enters Saturday’€™s game after picking up his second consecutive loss of the season during a game against the Yankees on Sunday. The 26-year-old southpaw gave up three earned runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts during 6 2/3 innings on the mound. Two of those runs came on a two-run shot by Carlos Beltran during the third inning.

“He was good,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said of Doubront’€™s performance (via MLB.com). “When he throws the ball over the plate, he’€™s as good as anybody. I think, what, two of the walks scored. It just drives his pitch count up. It puts him in situations he shouldn’t be in. Other than that, he threw the ball well.”

Doubront’€™s lone win of the season came in his first start — a game against the Orioles on April 3. The lefty lasted 5 1/3 innings while giving up three earned runs on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Boston went on to win the game 4-3. In 10 career appearances against Baltimore, Doubront has gone 2-2 with a 4.61 ERA and a WHIP of 1.29.

Unlike Doubront, Norris comes into Saturday’€™s game after tossing a gem against the Blue Jays last Saturday. The 29-year-old scattered five hits with three walks and four strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in what ultimately was an extra-inning win for the Orioles.

Norris last faced off against the Red Sox on Aug. 28, 2013, in a game that featured a late-inning Boston comeback. Norris got a no-decision after he gave up one earned run on four hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings. Norris also compiled seven strikeouts. Once Norris left the game, though, the Orioles bullpen gave up three runs in the seventh and eighth, leading to a 4-3 Red Sox win. Overall, Norris has made just three starts against Boston. During those outings, Norris has accumulated a 4.15 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP.

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Sunday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Ivan Nova 04.13.14 at 9:42 am ET
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The Red Sox conclude their four-game series against the Yankees on Sunday night, sending  southpaw Felix Doubront to the mound against Ivan Nova.

Though 1-1, Doubront has struggled in his first two starts of the season. After picking up a win against Baltimore, Doubront only made it through 2 2/3 innings against Texas on April 8, giving up five runs on six hits and a home run while striking out two and walking three. The rough outing, which was the shortest of his career, leaves Doubront with a 9.00 ERA and a 2.000 WHIP.

“I wasn’t tired,” Doubront said after the game. “I don’t know. I can’t explain what happened. I was feeling really good during the first two innings and the whole day, in my bullpen and the start of the game. I started doing too much. I think that’€™s what happened. I was trying to do too much and overthrow.”

The 26-year-old has played against the Yankees 12 times in his career, eight of them being starts. In 2010 and 2011, he came out of the bullpen four times, giving up two earned runs off of 17 batters faced. The southpaw picked up no-decisions in those contests.

2012 was a good year for Doubront against the Yankees as he made four starts and went 1-1 with an ERA of 2.52 and a WHIP of 1.200. While he went 2-1 against them in 2013, he had a 6.30 ERA with a WHIP of 1.700.

Similar to Doubront, Nova has struggled in 2013, going 1-1. The 27-year-old picked up a win at Houston in his season debut, going 5 2/3 innings and giving up two runs while walking five and striking out one. His second game, against Baltimore on April 8, saw him go only 3 2/3 innings and give up seven runs on 10 hits and a home run.

Nova has struggled against the Red Sox, going 2-3 in eight games with a 5.50 ERA and a WHIP of 1.699. Nova’€™s best year against Boston was in 2012, when he went 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and a WHIP of 1.250. In his games against the Sox in 2010, 2011 and 2013, his ERA was over six and he did not record a win.

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Closing Time: Felix Doubront’s poor start too much for Red Sox to overcome in loss to Rangers 04.08.14 at 9:25 pm ET
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Felix Doubront submitted the shortest start of his career on Tuesday. (AP)

Felix Doubront submitted the shortest start of his career on Tuesday. (AP)

The Red Sox harbored high hopes that this might be the year in which Felix Doubront took a significant step forward, that he emerged with the sort of dependability that could make him a staple of the rotation for some years to come. He showed up in spring training in improved shape as compared to the start of the 2013 season, and so the Sox thought he might be in better position to harness his well above-average pitch mix every five days.

“We’re expecting that he somewhat evens out some of the peaks and valleys he experienced a year ago,” manager John Farrell said before Tuesday’s game.

Hours later, Doubront plunged into canyon.

The left-hander submitted the shortest start of his career, lasting just 2 2/3 innings in which he allowed five runs on six hits, walked three, struck out two and threw just 53 percent (31 of 59) of his pitches for strikes. Unquestionably, his night was made worse by some defensive inefficiencies, but Doubront showed little ability to bounce back from them, as when he walked back to back hitters after Grady Sizemore broke in the wrong direction to turn a potential third out into a double.

Doubront’s mound struggles resulted in too great a deficit for the Sox to overcome, as their attempts to rally in the late innings proved an act of futility in the face of an insurmountable obstacle. The Sox endured a 10-7 loss to the Rangers, the team’s fourth in five games this homestand, and renews questions about whether the talented 26-year-old will ever emerge as reliable enough to solidify completely his place in the rotation.


– The Red Sox grounded into five double plays, coming within one of the team record (reached three times, most recently on July 18, 1990). Thus did the team fail to capitalize on the fact that it had the leadoff runner reach in each of the first seven innings. Dustin Pedroia grounded into a pair of those, marking the fifth time in his career that he’s had two DPs in the same game. Four of those have come since the start of the 2013 season. He went 1-for-5 one day after going 0-for-5.

– The Red Sox continued to struggle to convert balls in play into outs, a trend that has become commonplace at the start of the season. The Sox entered the game having turned 66 percent of balls in play into outs, tied for the third worst mark in the majors.

Xander Bogaerts went 0-for-4 and stranded six runners. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rangers matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Martin Perez at 8:22 am ET
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After posting their first home win of 2014 on Monday night, the Red Sox will play their second game against the Rangers, sending Felix Doubront to the mound against fellow Venezuelan left-hander Martin Perez on Tuesday evening.

Doubront, along with John Lackey, are the only Red Sox starters to have recorded a win in 2014. Doubront picked up the win in the finale of the series at Baltimore on Thursday, as he went 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs (all earned) on six hits while striking out four and walking one.

“Overall, pretty good,” Doubront said after the game. “My delivery was good. For the first game, it was good.’€™’

The 26-year-old Doubront has faced the Rangers six times in his career, including three starts in 2010, 2012 and 2013. The southpaw has an 0-3 record with an 11.40 ERA and a 2.6 WHIP over 15 innings of work, allowing 31 hits, 21 runs (19 earned) and one home run, striking out 15 and walking eight. He also picked up a save against Texas in 2010.

Doubront’€™s worst outing against the Rangers came in 2011, when he came out of the bullpen and allowed three runs (all earned) on two hits and two walks while only managing to get one out.

Perez has only faced the Red Sox once, back in 2012. The 23-year-old got the start that day and went six innings, giving up a run on five hits, striking out one and walking two. Despite pitching well, Perez got a no-decision and the Red Sox won the game in the ninth inning.

The southpaw got his first start of the season against the Phillies on April 1, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing two runs (both earned) on seven hits, striking out seven. While the Rangers won the game, 3-2, Perez did not get the decision, as Joakim Soria picked up the win in the ninth inning.

Rangers vs. Doubront (LHP)

J.P. Arencibia (13 plate appearances): .167 AVG/.231 OBP/.500 SLG, 1 double, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Elvis Andrus (10): .333/.400/.333, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Alex Rios (9): .111/.111/.111

Adrian Beltre (6): .667/.667/1.000, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Prince Fielder (6): .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Martin Perez

Martin Perez

Shin-Soo Choo (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Mitch Moreland (4): .750/.750/.750, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Jim Adduci, Robinson Chirinos, Michael Choice, Leonys Martin, Donnie Murphy and Josh Wilson have not faced Doubront.

Red Sox vs. Perez (LHP)

Jonny Gomes (6): .333/.333/.333, 2 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia had no hits in three plate appearances vs. Perez

Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mike Carp, Jonathan Herrera, Brock Holt, Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava, David Ortiz, A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross and Grady Sizemore have not faced Perez.

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Red Sox lineup: Jonny Gomes leads off, Grady Sizemore sits 04.03.14 at 3:16 pm ET
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Jonny Gomes

Jonny Gomes

With the Red Sox facing their first left-handed starter of the year in Orioles southpaw Wei-Yin Chen, Jonny Gomes will lead off in a game for just the third time in his career and the first time since August 26, 2007. Grady Sizemore, who played the first two games of the season, will get a day off with the Brewers set to throw three straight right-handed pitchers at the Red Sox during the weekend series in Boston and the Sox having committed to not starting Sizemore in more than three games in a row.Chen has enjoyed more success against lefties (.228/.286/.398) than righties (.270/.320/.442) in his two big league seasons, helping to explain not only the off-day for Sizemore and Gomes’ place in the leadoff spot but also the presence of Xander Bogaerts in the fifth spot in the lineup, the highest he’s hit in a big league game. Will Middlebrooks will bat seventh, while Jackie Bradley Jr. — getting his first start of the year — will play center field in Sizemore’s absence and bat ninth. David Ross will be behind the plate for left-hander Felix Doubront. Ross will be hard-pressed to follow this performance.

Dustin Pedroia has destroyed Chen in 21 career plate appearances, posting a .579/.619/.895 line against him. Doubront, meanwhile, has an excellent track record against Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (.118/.167/.118) but has struggled against both Chris Davis (.400/.471/.667) and Nelson Cruz (.500/.625/.667).

For complete batter vs. pitcher matchups, click here. For comprehensive Red Sox coverage visit weei.com/redsox.

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Thursday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Wei-Yin Chen at 11:33 am ET
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The Red Sox will look to clinch the rubber game of their first series of the season Thursday night as the team sends Felix Doubront to the mound against Orioles southpaw Wei-Yin Chen in Baltimore.

Doubront, who is heading into his fifth season in a Red Sox uniform, comes into the start after a challenging spring. The 26-year-old lefty was touched up for seven and eight runs by the Yankees and Rays, respectively, in back-to-back starts. Doubront finished out March, however, with five scoreless innings against the Twins, giving him a 1-2 record with a 7.11 ERA and an 1.95 WHIP for the month.

Despite the difficult spring, Doubront is gearing up for a breakout season after one of the best years of his career in 2013. Doubront picked up his second consecutive 11-win season last year and managed a 4.32 ERA — the best of his time as a consistent starter. After a bumpy month of May when his ERA and WHIP escalated to 6.23 and 1.88, Doubront became one of the most reliable pitchers in Boston’€™s rotation as he went 4-3 with a sub-3.00 ERA in 11 starts during June and July.

“This is a big year for me,” Doubront said, (via MLB.com). “I know that, and I went into the offseason thinking that I have to be strong mentally and physically and try to be healthy the whole year. You never know what’€™s going to happen, but you have to be prepared.”

Doubront last faced off against the Orioles on Sept. 29, 2013, when he came in to relieve Allen Webster in what was ultimately a 7-6 Sox loss. The southpaw struggled severely in the stint, as he gave up five earned runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings. Overall, Doubront has a 1-2 record with a 4.54 ERA in nine appearances against the Orioles.

Chen, who is starting his third season with Baltimore, will head into Thursday’€™s tilt after struggling in his final outing of spring training. The 28-year-old gave up six runs on 10 hits, including two home runs, during 3 2/3 innings on the mound against the Rays on March 19, capping off a spring in which he went 1-1 with a 6.39 ERA and 1.66 WHIP.

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