Left-hander Felix Doubront walked off the mound with one out in the sixth inning and the Red Sox leading the Reds by two runs, in position to earn his second win of the season. But he also had the tying runs on base thanks to two four-pitch walks.
Burke Badenhop got Doubront out of that jam, needing just one pitch for an inning-ending double play. Doubront did not get the W, as the Sox needed 12 innings to pull out a 4-3 win.
As he has been for much of this season, he was inconsistent in his outing. He went 5 1/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits and three walks with three strikeouts, lowering his ERA from 5.70 to 5.09.
Doubront threw a total of 97 pitches, 58 strikes. He was impressive in the odd-numbered innings, when he faced just three batters in the first, third, and fifth innings, needing 14, 13, and 9 pitches, respectively in each. He faced the top of the Reds’ lineup in the first and third, and nine-one-two in the fifth.
Curiously, though, in the even-numbered innings he struggled. In the second, when he gave up a run, and fourth he needed 23 and 26 pitches, respectively, then could not get through the sixth.
“In a couple of innings he was very crisp and very sharp,” said manager John Farrell. “Still, we’re trying to get him through some things where a following inning kind of leaves you wondering what happened from the previous inning. We’re trying to gain some consistency with him to get deeper into games. Our rotation is going to be critical to us and his contribution is going to be needed.”
“I’m getting there,” Doubront said. “Every outing, I’m learning more with my mechanics and learning those situations, limiting the damage and try to give my opportunity to win.”
Perhaps it was Doubront’s downtime on Tuesday that affected him. Doubront’s second and fourth innings followed innings in which the Sox offense was busy. In the first, the Sox sent five batters to the plate, scoring a run. In the third, eight batters produced two more runs. His sixth inning came after the Sox sent five batters to plate.
“I think I have to be more aggressive,” he said. “Sometimes the long innings (for the Sox’ offense) make you cool down a little bit and it’s hard to go out there and try to be aggressive, because you’re opening too much and trying to do too much. I tried to keep myself calm and that’s when that happened. It’s hard to throw strikes, but I have to figure out something to get that tempo and throw more strikes.”
Still, even though Doubront didn’t get the win, he was satisfied with his progress.
“I was happy [with my outing],” Doubront said. “I felt more confidence in throwing the ball. A couple of walks, a couple of mistakes, but overall I threw the ball well. I think I’m getting there in every outing. My mechanics are better. I’m keeping the damage down and trying to give my team opportunity to win. I just have to keep throwing like that and the wins are going to come.”