Felix Doubront says his six-walk performance his last time out was out of character. He starts Monday in Seattle.
Felix Doubront surprised some A’s watchers his last time out, allowing just one hit while walking six last Tuesday against the Dodgers.
The left-handed starting pitcher was as surprised as anyone. He’d only walks six batters all season in 33.1 big league innings, including four starts with Toronto before coming to the A’s, starts in which he’d walked a total of five.
So he says not to expect a repeat performance of what manager Bob Melvin called him being “effectively wild.’’
“I was mad at myself for that; that’s not how I should pitch,’’ he said. “When you do that, you should give up 10 runs.’’
The fact that Doubront allowed just one unearned run not only spoke to “the extra focus I had with men in scoring position,’’ he said, but impressed Melvin enough to make sure he got Monday’s start in Seattle against the Mariners. It doesn’t hurt that he has a career 1.43 ERA against the M’s.
“I made sure when I had those situations with men in scoring position, I made good pitches,’’ he said. “I was mad at myself, but I wasn’t trying to go out there and strike everybody out to get outs. I was more focused than I have been.
“The real issue was when I was pitching from the windup. It was difficult to release the ball right. Before, I was in the bullpen. Coming out of the bullpen, I was throwing out of the stretch, so I was a little rusty in the windup. It was weird for me. I can’t remember the last time I walked six.’’
It was in 2013, back when he was a rising star with the Red Sox, and 11-game winner. That was before his shoulder went south on him. The soreness plagued him, and as his ERA went up, he hit the road, winding up with the Cubs and then the Blue Jays before Oakland got in in a cash deal with Toronto.
“It’s just in the last two months that I’ve been close to 100 percent healthy with my shoulder,’’ he said. “Today I can say I feel 100 percent. That makes a big difference.’’
–Danny Valencia, who was held out of Saturday’s game while a right hamstring problem led to him getting an MRI, was back in the lineup Sunday even after the MRI revealed some tendinitis in the area of his right knee.
“I had treatment the whole day yesterday, and I still feel it,’’ Valencia said. “But I don’t think anybody is 100 percent at this time of the year. It’s playable.’’
He said he’d never had problems with his right leg before, but “it’s something that started cropping up in the last seven or eight days.’’
“I try to think about it, but I can’t pinpoint one incident when it happened,’’ he said. “I can say the night game against the Dodgers (last Tuesday) it was really bad.’’
Valencia went 2-for-5 in that game, including getting the single that started an eight-inning game-tying three-run rally.
Since joining the A’s after Toronto let him go in a roster adjustment, Valencia is only hitting .255, but he has a .527 slugging percentage thanks to half of his 14 hits going for extra bases, including three doubles and four homers. That kind of production has been difficult to find in the Oakland lineup this season.
“It’s always nice to have him in the lineup, especially as productive as he’s been for us,’’ Melvin said.
–Melvin said his plan for Sean Doolittle call for his first game to be in a non-save situation, but he clarified that Sunday morning. While it won’t be a save situation, that doesn’t mean it won’t be a high leverage situation, the manager said.
–Scott Masler, the ball boy down the left field line who wound up on SportsCenter and all over Twitter Saturday night after his diving catch in front of the A’s bullpen, remained something of a minor celebrity Sunday. “It was incredible to see myself on SportsCenter,’’ he said. It’s his job 81 games a year to make sure as best he can that line drives into the bullpen don’t hit anybody. “When I saw that ball headed for the pen, I thought if there was ever a time to try for a dive like that, it was then.’’
–Melvin spent extra time on the field before the game meeting, talking with and shaking the hands of season ticket holders, who were on the field pregame for their annual meet and greet with the players and staff. “They were awesome,’’ Melvin said. “I probably spent more time out there than you anticipate because they are so supportive, and you want to give each and every person some time. I’m extremely honored to manage this team for these people.’’