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Sports

July 30, 2013

Talented Doubront must become more durable for Sox

(Continued)

Price competes the same way and he has pitched 200 or more innings each of the past three seasons.

The important thing for Doubront isn’t pitching 200 innings this year. He’ll probably fall about 20 to 30 innings short of that mark anyway. The key for him is to finish this year strong. If he tails off in August and September, the Red Sox will be in big trouble, especially if Boston fails to add another starting pitcher by tomorrow’s non-waiver trade deadline.

Doubront allowed two runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out four yesterday.

“Pretty poor,” Doubront said, evaluating his outing. “I couldn’t get ahead. All my pitches was a little bit off.”

The Boston lefty obviously has great stuff. Even with a drop in velocity this year — his fastball entered yesterday averaging 90.5 mph this season compared to an average of 92.7 mph last year (fangraphs.com) — Doubront still is recording outs because of his movement.

Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild recently told The Eagle-Tribune about the lefty: “The fastball is all over the zone. It’s difficult to get a read on it. He’s using four quadrants. I don’t know if it’s on purpose but the ball is cutting and sinking.”

Yankees catcher Chris Stewart elaborated on Doubront’s fastball movement.

“Sometimes it cuts, sometimes it two-seams away from you,” Stewart said. “I don’t know if he necessarily knows what he’s doing but he’s kind of effectively all around the strike zone. It’s tough to key in on a guy like that. He’s got that slow curveball to keep you off-balance.”

A big difference between Doubront and Price — as was on display last night — is simple strike throwing.

Doubront threw 104 pitches (55 percent for strikes) in five innings. Price threw 49 fewer pitches over the first five innings during which he had thrown 75 percent strikes.

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