Marlins-Red Sox Preview
By MIKE LIPKA
(AP) -- The Boston Red Sox would be satisfied if the venue is the only thing different for Felix Doubront in this week's start against Miami.
They'd be devastated if Dustin Pedroia aggravated the same thumb injury he suffered last month.
Facing the sputtering Marlins for the second straight Wednesday night - this time at Fenway Park - Doubront tries to replicate his latest stellar outing, with Pedroia's status unclear after he left the series opener early.
A week ago in Miami, Doubront (7-3, 4.17 ERA) didn't allow a hit until Jose Reyes' sixth-inning home run. He ended up yielding two runs and three hits while striking out nine in seven innings of a 10-2 victory.
"Felix Doubront was outstanding," manager Bobby Valentine said. "He had all of his arsenal. He had an explosive fastball. He threw his curveball for strikes early and late. He had a good change-up and a cutter. Boy, that's good pitching."
Doubront had struggled in his previous start against Washington, but that now looks like an aberration. The Venezuelan countryman of Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is 6-2 with a 3.61 ERA in his last eight starts while fanning 51 in 47 1-3 innings.
Miami may be equally concerned with David Ortiz, who hit his 17th homer in Tuesday's 7-5 victory over the Marlins and is now 8 for 16 with three homers and seven RBIs in his last five games.
He also went deep off Ricky Nolasco in Doubront's win last week.
Nolasco (6-5, 4.37) takes the mound again after pitching a bizarre one-hitter in his only previous start at Fenway in 2009. He allowed only a Kevin Youkilis home run in five innings before the Marlins' 2-1 win was called because of rain.
Against the Red Sox last Wednesday in Miami, Nolasco allowed four runs - three earned - in six innings, falling to 2-5 in his last seven starts despite improving his ERA in that stretch to 5.98.
This time, he may not have to pitch to Pedroia, who exited Tuesday after fouling out in the seventh inning. He felt something in his right thumb, which he injured May 28, causing him to miss six games.
"He said - this is third-hand - that he was more fearful than he was injured," Valentine told the Red Sox's official website. "The ball was an inside pitch that pushed the bat back in his hand the way he didn't want it to. ... We'll see how it is (Wednesday)."
Pedroia had shown signs of ending his recent slump by going 3 for 8 with two doubles in his last two games.
Miami (33-34) is still plummeting in the NL East, having lost 11 of 13, still lingering six games back of division-leading Washington only because of the Nationals' four-game skid. The five runs the Marlins scored Tuesday were their most in that 13-game stretch, and Logan Morrison drove in all of them.
"Obviously, the team comes first," Morrison said. "We've got to start winning games."
Jose Reyes was 0 for 5 and is 3 for 19 on this road trip.
The Red Sox (34-33), on the other hand, have won five of six to get back above .500. They began a nine-game homestand by winning for just the second time in their last eight at Fenway.
"We haven't had much luck at home," shortstop Mike Aviles said, "but any win's always good."
Former Marlins outfielder Cody Ross returned from the disabled list and homered for Boston.
Updated June 20, 2012