Felix Doubront, Grady Sizemore impress as Red Sox beat Braves

March 07, 2014 - 11:15 am

In two of the past three years, there were concerns that Felix Doubront hadn't shown up to spring training in pitching shape. He's challenging that narrative this year. Doubront continued his strong initial showing by firing four shutout innings against the Braves in the Red Sox' 4-1 win over visiting Atlanta at JetBlue Park. The left-hander allowed just two singles (one of the infield variety) and, perhaps more significantly, punched out three without walking a batter. The Sox had made some mechanical alterations in an effort to make Doubront's delivery to the plate more direct in hopes that it would permit him to do a better job of throwing strikes. To date, he's punched out six and walked none in six shutout spring innings spanning his two appearances. It would be a mistake to draw too many conclusions about strikeout and walk numbers from the start of spring, but if Doubront can harness his pitches in the strike zone, he could make a significant career step forward in 2014. The Sox fell behind 1-0 in the top of the sixth when Jason Heyward launched a solo homer to right against reliever Junichi Tazawa, but the hosts responded with a game-tying run in the bottom of the sixth and three in the bottom of the seventh. While Jonathan Herrera (go-ahead RBI double) and Ryan Lavarnway (two-run single) delivered the runs, the most notable offensive performance may have come from center fielder Grady Sizemore. Batting leadoff, Sizemore beat out an infield single and later lined another single to center, after which he showed good first-step quickness in advancing from first to second. Sizemore is now 3-for-8 with a walk and a strikeout in his first three spring contests.