Thursday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Wei-Yin Chen

April 03, 2014 - 7:33 am

The Red Sox will look to clinch the rubber game of their first series of the season Thursday night as the team sends Felix Doubront to the mound against Orioles southpaw Wei-Yin Chen in Baltimore. Doubront, who is heading into his fifth season in a Red Sox uniform, comes into the start after a challenging spring. The 26-year-old lefty was touched up for seven and eight runs by the Yankees and Rays, respectively, in back-to-back starts. Doubront finished out March, however, with five scoreless innings against the Twins, giving him a 1-2 record with a 7.11 ERA and an 1.95 WHIP for the month. Despite the difficult spring, Doubront is gearing up for a breakout season after one of the best years of his career in 2013. Doubront picked up his second consecutive 11-win season last year and managed a 4.32 ERA -- the best of his time as a consistent starter. After a bumpy month of May when his ERA and WHIP escalated to 6.23 and 1.88, Doubront became one of the most reliable pitchers in Boston'€™s rotation as he went 4-3 with a sub-3.00 ERA in 11 starts during June and July. "This is a big year for me," Doubront said, (via "I know that, and I went into the offseason thinking that I have to be strong mentally and physically and try to be healthy the whole year. You never know what'€™s going to happen, but you have to be prepared." Doubront last faced off against the Orioles on Sept. 29, 2013, when he came in to relieve Allen Webster in what was ultimately a 7-6 Sox loss. The southpaw struggled severely in the stint, as he gave up five earned runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings. Overall, Doubront has a 1-2 record with a 4.54 ERA in nine appearances against the Orioles. Chen, who is starting his third season with Baltimore, will head into Thursday'€™s tilt after struggling in his final outing of spring training. The 28-year-old gave up six runs on 10 hits, including two home runs, during 3 2/3 innings on the mound against the Rays on March 19, capping off a spring in which he went 1-1 with a 6.39 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. The last time Chen stepped onto the mound against Boston was during the Orioles' 6-5 victory on Sept. 28, 2013. Chen picked up the win after he gave up three earned runs on nine hits and compiled five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. The lefty has a 2-2 record with a 5.08 ERA against the Red Sox in seven career starts. Red Sox vs. Chen (LHP) Dustin Pedroia (21 plate appearances): .579 AVG/.619 OPB/ .895 SLG, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 4 RBI€™s, 2 walks, 1 strikeout Jonny Gomes (16): .214/.313/.429, 1 HR ,1 RBI. 2 walks, 5 strikeouts Will Middlebrooks (16): .375/.375/.438, 1 double. 4 strikeouts David Ortiz (12): .200/.250/.500, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 walk. 3 strikeouts A.J. Pierzynski (12): .250/.250/.417, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs. 4 strikeouts Mike Napoli (11): .300/.364/1.000, 1 double, 2 HRs, 2 RBIs. 1 walk, 3 strikeouts David Ross (10): .300/.300/.400, 1 double. 2 RBIs. 2 strikeouts Daniel Nava (9): .625/.667/1.000, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout Orioles vs. Doubront (LHP) Adam Jones (18): .118/.167/.118, 8 strikeouts Chris Davis (17): .400/.471/.667, 1 double, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 strikeouts J.J. Hardy (17): .200/.294/.267, 1 double. 2 RBIs. 2 walks, 3 strikeouts Matt Wieters (17): .063/.118/.063, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts Nick Markakis (11): .400/.455/.400, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts Nelson Cruz (8): .500/.625/.667, 1 double. 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout Steve Pearce (7): .000/.571/.000, 3 walks Ryan Flaherty (4): .500/.500/.750, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Delmon Young (2): .500/.500/2.000, 1 HR. 1 RBI Steve Clevenger and Jonathan Schoop each have one hit in one plate appearance vs. Doubront.