Closing Time: Red Sox comeback falls short in loss to Blue Jays

May 20, 2014 - 6:29 pm

The night had already been a poor one for Felix Doubront. The lefty was leaving pitches over the middle of the plate, not hitting his locations and his velocity seemingly disappeared, his fastball rarely cracking 90 mph. Without the help of his velocity, Doubront's secondary pitches, which did not look particularly sharp, were prime for a shellacking. And shellack the Blue Jays did. In the 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays Tuesday night, Doubront allowed five hits (all extra-base hits), five runs, three walks, two strike outs and two home runs, a two-run shot in the third inning to Edwin Encarnacion and a solo shot in the fourth inning to Eric Kratz. This was the second time in two starts that Doubront gave up two home runs in a start. Doubront came into Tuesday's start looking to continue his recent strong performances, where he allowed a combined two runs in 11 2/3 innings over two starts. Instead, for the third time this season, Doubront walked more hitters (3) than he struck out (2). Doubront's velocity was seemingly absent, as he sat between 87-90 mph in the first four innings before hitting just 87-88 mph in his final inning of work before he was taken out due to left shoulder fatigue. Coming into tonight's game, the Red Sox were one of two major league teams that had not used more than five starting pitchers so far this season. In addition, 43 games is the latest the Red Sox have gone into a season where only five pitchers have made starts since 2003, when the team went the 45 games before needing a sixth starting pitcher. That now appears likely to change. Doubront's poor outing could not be overcome by a furious late-innings comeback, as the Sox continued their winless homestand. The Sox' loss was the team's fifth in a row and left them four games under .500, matching their low-water mark for the season. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- Xander Bogaerts had a difficult all-around night, foremost defensively. In the first inning, he launched a rainbow well over the head of Mike Napoli that bounced to the dugout railing for his first error, and later failed to glove a grounder to his right for a second error. On the second miscue, he covered his face with his glove in an admission of his frustration, which may have extended beyond the errors. The shortstop had looked much better of late ranging to both sides and had not committed an error in the month of May. But on Tuesday -- the same day that the Sox re-signed Stephen Drew with the stated purpose of stabilizing the left side of their infield defense -- Bogaerts regressed (though he did recover to help turn a pair of nice double plays). Bogaerts also hit into some hard luck, rifling a smash with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning. What looked like a two-run single was instead knocked down by Brett Lawrie, who stepped on third and fired home for a 5-2 inning-ending double play. That was the down note in a contest in which he went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk. -- Edward Mujica continued his seasons during the 2014 season when he came in to replace Doubront in the fifth inning. Mujica allowed two runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings with two home runs to Encarnacion in the fifth inning and Melky Cabrera in the sixth inning. The 30-year-old has struggled this season, posting a 8.04 ERA with ten strikeouts and a 1.72 WHIP in 15 2/3 innings pitched. He's allowed 10 extra-base hits in his 16 games. -- The 0-for-3 night by David Ross included a strikeout and a failed attempt to lay down a sacrifice bunt. After his strikeout in the eighth inning, Ross has struck out 20 times in 48 plate appearances (41.7%). WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- Brock Holt continued to make a strong impression, making a couple of nice defensive plays at third base in the first inning. He continues to put together a case to stay once Stephen Drew returns to the Red Sox. While the Sox had previously elected to keep Jonathan Herrera in the big leagues over Holt due to superior shortstop defense, with Bogaerts now an option to back up Drew at shortstop, Holt's ability to play third base and second base may fit more easily into the roster. -- The Red Sox strung together three doubles from Holt, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Dustin Pedroia to score two runs during the fifth inning. The Red Sox came into Tuesday's contest sitting 13th in the majors in doubles. -- Jonny Gomes hit a first pitch, two-run home run in the sixth inning into the first row of the Green Monster that scored Mike Napoli. The home run was his fourth of the season. Gomes came into Tuesday's contest hitting .375 on the first pitch this season with one double, one home run and five RBI.