Tommorow night in Kansas City Felix Doubront heads to the hill for the Red Sox hoping to continue his pursuit of one of the giants of the game. The lefthander has been one of the hottest pitchers in the American League, registering a 2.55 ERA since May 16, the fourth best among qualifying AL starters, trailing only Oakland’s Bartolo Colon (1.92), Max Scherzer of the Tigers (2.25) and Yankees lefty Hiroki Kuroda (2.53).
That date also coincides with the start of a streak of 15 straight starts in which Doubront has yielded three or fewer earned runs. He’s currently tied for the most recent stretch of such games by a Boston lefthander, set by Herb Pennock in 1919. While Pennock is a Hall of Famer, Doubront is now within striking distance of perhaps the most legendary names in the Game, George Herman Ruth. From July 29, 1916 until April 16 of the following season, The Babe allowed three earned runs or fewer in 18 straight starts.
Here are some other hurlers who have experienced similar spells for the Red Sox and around the major leagues:
•The Rocket, Roger Clemens went 32 starts over more than a calendar year from May 9, 1990 to May 13, 1991 without surrendering more than three earned runs in a start, the longest run for a Red Sox pitcher regardless of throwing arm in the live-ball era.
•The longest streak in the majors by a lefthander in the same timeframe was set by Los Angeles Dodger Claude Osteen whose line of starts stretched to three dozen from Sept. 2, 1965 to August 15, 1966.
•The longest span overall during that same era by any major league pitcher was 38 straight starts by Ray Washburn starting with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1968 and ended as a member of the Cincinnati Reds in 1970.
•Dodger’s lefty Clayton Kershaw had his streak of 22 games with three earned runs or less snapped this past May 26 by the Cardinals. That matched Mat Latos, Chris Carpenter and Johan Santana for the longest streak in the 2000s.
•Gaints righthander Ryan Vogelsong has the majors longest active period at 16 games in a row. He faces the Baltimore Orioles tonight at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
•Jake Peavy is the only other current Red Sox starter who has had a longer career streak than Doubront’s when he went 16 straight games for the Padres August 31, 2003 to July 2, 2004. The longest for the others is current Red Sox starters: John Lackey (14), Jon Lester (11) and Ryan Dempster (9).
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He has also authored or made contributions to many books, including the Sports Illustrateds 100 Fenway: A Fascinating First Century.
Now living in Marblehead, hes focusing his attention on the Boston sports scene, specifically delving into the numbers affecting the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, with the goal of informing and entertaining real fans. You can follow him on Twitter at @SabinoSports.