The Red Sox will finish off their home series against the Yankees on Thursday, sending Felix Doubront to the mound against fellow southpaw CC Sabathia.
Through four starts in 2014, Doubront has struggled, going 1-2 with an ERA of 5.48 and a WHIP of 1.55, second worst among Red Sox starters and only better than Clay Buchholz. Doubront’s 15 strikeouts are the lowest among the team’s starting rotation.
The 26-year-old last played on April 19 against the Orioles, going 6 2/3 innings and giving up two runs on five hits, striking out a season-high seven batters and walking two. Doubront pitched well, throwing 70 of his 107 pitches for strikes and allowing one extra-base hit. While Doubront got a no-decision, the Red Sox won the game 4-2, despite his rough first inning.
“I don’t really know what happened [in the first],” Doubront said after the game. “I think I overthrew a couple balls and I was thinking too much, and I calmed down and I was trying to throw strikes and get quick innings, and I did.
“Just throw down in the zone [after the first], throw more breaking balls, just throw strikes. And they swing. They’re a team, if you’re throwing a strike, they’re going to swing. I went with that, just throwing my cutters down in the zone. Tried to get quick outs and that worked.”
Doubront’s last start against the Yankees came on April 13 in New York. The southpaw went 6 2/3 innings, throwing 101 pitches and allowing three runs on a season-high seven hits. The Red Sox lost, 3-2.
The Red Sox’ third starter has faced the Yankees 13 times, starting nine games and going 3-3 against them. In 2010 and 2011, Doubront came out of the bullpen in four appearances, giving up no runs in 2010 and two runs in 2011.
He wouldn’t get his first start against New York until 2012. Doubront started four games against the Yankees that year, going 1-1 with a 2.52 ERA and a WHIP of 1.200 while striking out 26. 2013 was a mixed bag for Doubront, as he went 2-1 against the Yanks with an ERA of 6.30.
Sabathia has struggled out of the gate, going 2-2 with a 5.19 ERA and a 1.269 WHIP. While the lefty has struck out six or more, walked two or fewer and pitched in six or more innings in all four of his starts, he also has given up at least one home run and allowed six or more hits in every game.
The 33-year-old last pitched last Thursday against the Rays, arguably his best game. Sabathia lasted seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned), while striking out six and walking two. The southpaw picked up the win after the Yankees won 10-2.
Sabathia’s first game against the Red Sox in 2014 was his only home start of the season. He pitched seven innings during the April 11 game, allowing four runs on six hits, striking out nine. It wasn’t enough, however, as the Red Sox won 4-2, giving Sabathia his second loss of the season.
Historically, Sabathia has been average against the Red Sox, going 10-12 in 28 starts with a 4.74 ERA. His best year against the team came in 2009 when he went 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA, and his worst year came in 2011 when he went 1-4 with a 6.39 ERA.
Yankees vs. Doubront (LHP)
Brett Gardner (19 plate appearances): .250 AVG, .368 OBP, .375 SLG, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
Kelly Johnson (18): .267/.389/.267, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Derek Jeter (15): .143/.200/.143, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Ichiro Suzuki (15): .143/.133/.143, 1 RBI
Mark Teixeira (12): .250/.250/.750, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 4 strikeouts
Alfonso Soriano (8): .375/.375/1.125, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, 2 strikeouts
Carlos Beltran (4): .750/.750/1.750, 1 double, 1 home run, 2 RBIs
Brian Roberts (4): .000/.250/.000, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Dean Anna has no hits in three plate appearances vs. Doubront.
Jacoby Ellsbury has a double in three plate appearances.
Brian McCann has a double and a walk in three plate appearances.
Yangervis Solarte has a walk in three plate appearances.
J.R. Murphy has not faced Doubront.
Red Sox vs. Sabathia (LHP)
David Ortiz (69): .238/.305/.381, 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, 5 walks, 15 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (62): .281/.339/.333, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, 4 walks, 14 strikeouts
Jonny Gomes (48): .275/.375/.475, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts
Mike Napoli (37): .281/.378/.531, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 8 RBIs, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
A.J. Pierzynski (27): .222/.222/.407, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 6 strikeouts
David Ross (25): .333/.400/.714, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 3 RBIs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Daniel Nava (16): .167/.214/.417, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Grady Sizemore (12): .300/.417/1.000, 1 double, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Jackie Bradley (9): .000/.222/.000, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Xander Bogaerts (6): .000/.333/.000, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Mike Carp (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Chris Capuano has three strikeouts in three plate appearances vs. Sabathia.
Jonathan Herrera has a strikeout in one plate appearance.
Brock Holt has not faced Sabathia.