After he absorbed his eighth loss of the season in Friday night’s 7-5 setback against the Blue Jays, Felix Doubront said before Saturday night’s game he would resist any attempt to shut down his season, saying his arm felt fine after a career-high 134⅔ innings in 25 starts.
“I feel good, man,’’ Doubront said. “I just want to keep going and finish the season strong and healthy. That’s more important.’’
Doubront didn’t speak to reporters Friday after he gave up five runs on six hits, including a solo homer in the third by Edwin Encarnacion and a two-run shot in the fourth by Moises Sierra. He said he has not discussed a possible shutdown with manager Bobby Valentine or with anyone in the front office.
“No, not at all,’’ Doubront said. “I think what affects me now is confidence. It’s not because I’m tired. The arm feels good.’’
After going 10-4 in his first 18 starts of the season, Doubront has gone 0-4 in his last seven outings, compiling an ERA of 8.27 over that stretch, during which the Sox have gone 2-5. He has allowed 30 runs on 45 hits, including seven homers, while walking 20 and striking out 37 in 32⅔ innings.
Doubront said he’s been bothered by his inability to “finish hitters,’’ but that it was not related to simple arm fatigue.
“It’s a couple of things, but control is one,’’ Doubront said. “The mechanics are good. But finishing the hitter is more important. I have no confidence about that.’’
Concentration has been another issue lately.
“Yeah, sometimes I try to be too perfect too much,’’ he said. “It’s one thing I can’t control right now. I just want to get the hitter out . . . that’s the only thing I can control, finishing the hitter in three or four pitches.
“I’m throwing too many pitches to get one hitter out.’’
Doubront has worked almost 100 more innings than in his first two major league seasons (35⅓). The most he’d ever thrown before this season was 129⅓ innings in Single A ball in 2008.
Asked if there was any concern about fatigue with Doubront, Valentine said, “You’d have to consider it. But, you know, if he comes in next season and he gets to this high-water mark and everyone starts thinking about shutting him down again, it’s probably best — if he feels good — to let that bar be as high as possible, so he can extend it as long as he’s not going to be injured.”
“When I feel tired, I’m going to let them know,’’ Doubront said. “But I’m not. I’m just going to keep pitching. I’ve just got to figure out how to pitch my way out of it.’’
A step for Lackey
John Lackey threw off the mound at Fenway Park for the first time since coming off Tommy John elbow surgery last Nov. 1. Lackey threw 15 pitches in a live batting practice session against Daniel Nava and Ivan De Jesus.
“First step in the new world for him after a real hard summer of rehab,’’ Valentine said. “Better than how he looked was how he felt, and he said he felt great afterwards, and that is what’s really important.’’
“It felt good,’’ said Lackey, who hopes to pitch in an instructional league game in Fort Myers, Fla., before heading into the offseason. “Arm-wise it felt strong, it felt like there’s no pain. Location was not where I wanted it to be yet, but it’s a good step forward. I feel good with my arm speed, that’s the main thing.’’
Valentine said Lackey likely will go through the normal routine of rest and recovery before getting back on the mound in 4-5 days.
“I wish I could have that little magic crystal ball that told me the future,’’ Valentine said. “But if he continues to work hard all winter, which I believe he will, he’ll give us and himself the best chance.”
Catching some rest
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who came out in the seventh inning of Friday night’s game because of back spasms, was given Saturday night off. Ryan Lavarnway, who substituted for Saltalamacchia Friday, started at catcher.
“He had a pretty good spasm,” Valentine said. “We talked about the situation and the situation is, ‘Let’s make sure it’s perfect before he gets back in September.’ ”
Scott Atchison was in the Sox clubhouse after picking up the win for Triple A Pawtucket in Thursday’s International League playoff game against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He worked a scoreless 1⅓ innings. “They’re doing good, so that was good,’’ said Atchison, who is coming back from right forearm tightness. “For me, it was just getting an inning and proving to myself that I’m healthy and everything and it feels good so far. I don’t have any worries. I’ve pitched twice and I plan on coming back and pitching at the end of the season.” The PawSox clinched a spot in the IL championship series with a 7-1 victory over Scranton Saturday night, winning the best-of-five series, 3-1.