|Closing Time: Red Sox rebound from Andrew Bailey’s blown save to walk off with sweep of Rays||06.18.13 at 10:38 pm ET|
The Red Sox continue to show evidence of a flair for the dramatic, as the team claimed its sixth walkoff victory of the young season when Jonny Gomes launched a two-run homer down the left field line and over the Green Monster for a 3-1 victory over the Rays. With Gomes’ blast, the Sox swept a doubleheader from the Rays, shaking off a ninth-inning blown save by Andrew Bailey — who vultured a victory (3-0) — to rally back immediately.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Gomes launched the third walk-off homer of his career, jumping on a 1-0 fastball and launching it. He’s now driven in runs in 15 of his last 23 games with a plate appearance.
– For the first time in his professional career at any level, Felix Doubront worked more than seven innings, firing eight shutout innings in an outing that was nothing short of dominant and startling.
Doubront — who had required 104 pitches for five innings of work against the Rays a month ago — needed just 93 pitches to sail through the longest outing of his career. He gave up just three hits — all singles — and retired the last 17 batters he faced. For just the third time in his big league career — and the first time in an outing of more than six innings — Doubront did not walk a batter. Doubront had the most efficient outing of his career. He averaged fewer than 12 pitches per inning, and did not throw more than 13 pitches in an inning all night.
On a night when he had virtually no margin for error, Doubront needed none. The outing represented the punctuation mark on what has been an excellent stretch, as Doubront has allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his last seven starts, with a 2.81 ERA in that time. Indeed, the only question in the wake of his excellent work was why manager John Farrell elected to lift the left-hander after the eighth inning. Read the rest of this entry »
Game 2 of Tuesday’s doubleheader between the Red Sox and Rays features two young starters, as Felix Doubront will take on Jake Odorizzi.
Doubront (4-3, 4.91 ERA) has been consistently mediocre this season. The 25-year-old lefty has lasted at least five innings in 10 of his 12 starts and has allowed three or more runs seven times. His best start of the season came earlier in the month, when he allowed one run on six hits through six innings in a win over the Yankees.
The Red Sox have lost the last two games Doubront has started, including his last game against the Orioles in which he only lasted 4 2/3 innings. While he only allowed three earned runs in the outing, Doubront had thrown 103 pitches and was struggling to get outs.
“I threw a lot of good pitches,” Doubront said after the start. “They took a lot of pitches, too.”
The Rays power hitters have had some success against Doubront in their careers, as Evan Longoria has two doubles in 13 plate appearances and Luke Scott has two homers in 10 plate appearances.
Odorizzi, who has made four career starts after making his major league debut Sept. 23, 2012, while with the Royals, has yet to get a decision in two starts this year. The 23-year-old righty is making his first start since May 27, as he pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief in his last outing on June 13.
Odorizzi, a first-round draft pick of the Brewers in 2008, was traded to the Royals in December 2010 as part of the Zack Greinke deal, and he went from Kansas City to Tampa Bay along with highly regarded outfield prospect Wil Myers and two minor leaguers this past offseason in the trade that sent pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals.
Like Doubront, Odorizzi has struggled to pitch deep into games this year. He has only lasted a combined nine innings through his two starts this season, and has not yet lasted 100 pitches into a game.
Odorizzi’s last start did not go well for him, as he allowed six runs on eight hits and one walk through four innings to the Marlins — the worst offense in the major leagues. He hit two batters with pitches and allowed three extra base hits, including a home run.
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Drake Britton breaking through; Brandon Jacobs heating up; Henry Owens strikes out everyone||06.17.13 at 11:01 am ET|
Drake Britton was dominant for Double-A Portland yet again on Sunday afternoon, tossing seven innings while allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits while walking three and striking out one. Britton threw 97 pitches with 58 going for strikes.
He saw his 22 2/3 inning scoreless streak reach its terminus (the streak stands as the second-longest in Sea Dogs history) but Britton has allowed only two earned runs in his last five starts, good for a 0.56 ERA since May 25. The lefty has gone seven or more innings in his last three starts, and while he’s 6-5 on the season, he’s won all three of his starts in June. Britton — who features a mid-90s fastball, a slider that he’s commanding with increasing consistency and a changeup that he’s incorporating effectively at times — also hasn’t allowed a home run since May 3, going eight starts without giving up a longball.
Overall on the year, Britton owns a 3.08 ERA with 28 walks and 68 strikeouts in 13 starts. Given the fact that he’s in his second year on the 40-man roster and that he had a solid first stretch in Portland after a mid-year promotion in 2012, Britton very well could be next in line for a promotion from Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket.
His impressive run is somewhat reminiscent of Felix Doubront’s 2010 season, in which a dominant run in his second year in Portland led to a promotion not only to Triple-A, but soon to the major leagues as well. Britton hasn’t been dominant all season, but the recent stretch of great starts signals that he could be ready for the next level.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-3 WIN VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
– Outfielder Alex Hassan continued his hit-the-ground-running return from the disabled list after missing two months to open the year. Hassan went 1-for-2 with a two-run double. He’s 4-for-8 with two doubles and a homer in three games with Pawtucket, and he’s collected at least one extra-base hit while driving in at least one run in each of those contests. Overall, in 11 games with the PawSox and Single-A Greenville, the 25-year-old is hitting .484/.610/.710 in 11 games. Read the rest of this entry »
|Closing Time: Felix Doubront’s short outing sets up Red Sox for extra-innings failure in loss to Orioles||06.13.13 at 11:45 pm ET|
On a night when Felix Doubront lasted only 4 2/3 innings and left with the Sox in a 4-2 hole, the Red Sox nonetheless rallied to tie the game and send it into extras against the Orioles thanks in no small part to the outstanding performances of an assembly line of relievers. Franklin Morales (1 1/3 innings), Andrew Miller (2 scoreless frames), Junichi Tazawa (1 1/3 shutout innings) and Craig Breslow (two outs) all came on and kept Baltimore in check, buying time for the Sox to push across a pair of runs to knot the game, 4-4.
But after Alex Wilson — summoned from Pawtucket earlier on Thursday — delivered scoreless frames in both the 11th and 12th innings, the Orioles rallied for a two-out run in the 13th to claim a 5-4 walkoff victory. The game-winning hit came when Orioles slugger Chris Davis blooped a jam-shot — a 93 mph fastball located exactly where Wilson wanted it, on Davis’ hands — into shallow left.
The loss went to Wilson and the bullpen, but the fault lay with Doubront’s inability to offer reliable innings. After all, big league teams entered Thursday with a 64-240 record this year (.211 winning percentage) in games when their starters failed to log five complete innings. The Sox now are 1-8 in such bullpen-battering contests.
To highlight the impact of such short outings: The Sox are 40-19 (.678 winning percentage) when their starters go at least five innings, while their winning percentage drops to just .111 when their starters fail to deliver that modest innings total.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Doubront saw his streak of four straight starts of six innings snapped, on a night when he was hit relatively hard. He labored to a 103-pitch count in just 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits — a homer, two doubles and four singles. Though he issued just one walk and struck out five, and got six ground ball outs, Doubront remained winless against Baltimore.
– Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-5 and saw a number of streaks get halted. His 11-game hitting streak is no more. So, too, is a five-game streak in which he had a hit, scored a run and stole a base — the longest such streak by a Red Sox since Tommy Harper accomplished the feat in 1974. And when Matt Wieters delivered a low-flying laser to second base, Ellsbury had his streak of 18 straight successful stolen base attempts end.
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.
|Closing Time: Franklin Morales’ control issues bury Sox in 9-5 Angels win||06.08.13 at 5:08 pm ET|
The seventh inning was highly unlucky for the Red Sox in the first game of their Saturday doubleheader with the Angels: through six, the Angels led just 3-2, with neither starting pitcher having his best day but neither offense fully taking advantage of that fact.
But it all fell apart for the Sox in the seventh, when Franklin Morales gave up four runs on two hits and three walks, turning a close game into an Angels blowout that ended 9-5.
In Morales’ first relief appearance of the year, he threw just nine of his 30 pitches for strikes (although four of those balls did constitute an intentional walk to Albert Pujols). First, Morales gave up a double to Mike Trout that, had it gotten a foot or two higher in the air, would have been a home run into the Monster seats.
Then, after intentionally walking Pujols, he allowed an RBI double down the first-base line to Mark Trumbo, who went the other way on a fastball as the Sox defense had shifted toward the left side, playing him to pull.
Another walk loaded the bases, and then Morales threw eight straight balls, walking Alberto Callaspo and Chris Iannetta to give the Angels a 6-2 lead. Howie Kendrick, whom Morales had walked, scored when Clayton Mortensen allowed a single to Erick Aybar, making it 7-2 by the time the damage was done.
Sox manager John Farrell had said before the game that Morales might be worked back into the starting rotation this upcoming Wednesday, June 12, but his command issues in this outing may make the Sox think twice about that choice.
The Sox didn’t go quietly, rallying in the bottom of the ninth for three runs. But after the bullpen had given up two more runs in the top of the ninth, the deficit proved insurmountable.
WHAT WENT WRONG
- As has often been the case this year, Doubront’s outing was a bit of a mixed bag. His final line wasn’t bad – six innings, three runs on six hits, four strikeouts and two walks. He also came back out to pitch the sixth inning without too much trouble even though Morales had begun warming up in the fifth.
Following Friday’s rainout, the Red Sox will play two games against the Angels on Saturday. In the afternoon tilt, the Sox send Felix Doubront to the mound to take on righty Tommy Hanson.
After being faced with the possibility of losing his spot in the rotation, Doubront has been much more effective. Though still not the definition of efficiency, Doubront has gone six innings in his previous three starts, using only 85 pitches in one of those outings. Over his last four games, Doubront owns a 2.74 ERA, allowing seven earned runs in 23 innings while walking 13 and striking out 24. The recent stretch of good starts has brought Doubront’s ERA back down to 4.88 (it ballooned to 6.40 after he was roughed up in relief of Allen Webster back on May 8), but his WHIP is still high at 1.645. The 25-year-old has managed to strike out an average of 9.6 batters per nine innings, but he also has allowed 4.7 free passes per nine.
Doubront has been showing signs of improvement over his last few games, but his outing in New York his last time out was especially encouraging. Doubront battled with a high pitch count through two innings after walking three batters, but he was able to minimize the damage and get quick outs over his next four innings. The only scoring the Yankees did was on back-to-back singles, a ground ball to move a runner to third, and a sacrifice fly. Doubront gave up six hits, but all of them were singles. He looked stronger as the game went on, allowing only one hit in his last two innings.
Doubront did not make a start against the Angels last season, but he has seen them briefly in relief. The lefty threw one inning against Los Angeles in 2010, allowing two hits and walking one but holding the Angels scoreless.
Hanson, who was acquired by the Angels in the offseason from the Braves in exchange for Jordan Walden, has made only six starts on the year, spending six days on the bereavement list in late April due to the death of his stepbrother. Hanson came back to make two starts but felt he needed more time to cope with the loss. The Angels placed the starter on the restricted list, and Hanson missed three weeks of action.
“I was having mental issues with the death of my younger brother. I was just trying to get through it. I didn’t know how to handle it. That was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me. I didn’t know how to cope with it,” Hanson said. “Physically, I feel great. I’m in great shape. I just had to deal with the issues going on in my head.”
Hanson returned from the restricted list on May 31 and allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings to the Astros while striking out two. He took the loss and dropped to 2-2 on the season with a 4.19 ERA. In his few starts for the Angels, Hanson has had trouble striking out batters with the same frequency he did in Atlanta. Over the course of his five-year career, the 26-year-old has averaged a little over eight strikeouts per game, with his highest average coming in 2011, when he fanned almost 10 batters per game on average. This season, he’s struck out only 19 (an average of five batters per game) while he’s walked 10.
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