Boston Red Sox: Why They Can Trust Felix Doubront in Pressure Games
The hard-throwing lefty is a team-best 5-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 10 starts so far in 2012. He is 1-1 against the AL East, but could be 3-1 if he got better run support—or the Red Sox bullpen didn't cough up a 9-1 lead against the New York Yankees on April 21, which is arguably his best start this season.
The 24-year-old has even shown that he does not have the control issues that fellow starter-turned-reliever Daniel Bard has shown through his first nine starts. Doubront has walked 24 batters and struck out 59 in 56 innings pitched. Bard has walked 31 and had 32 strikeouts in 53.1 innings.
It is great still to see both young guns get the job done in their new roles. Bard was all set to be the closer of this team when the Red Sox traded for closer Andrew Bailey. And when Bailey went down with an injury in spring training, Bard didn't even think twice about staying in the starting rotation.
Doubront was even more of a surprise. He was in the talks of being a bullpen guy, but when he had such a dominant spring training as a starter, Bobby Valentine had no choice but to use him as a starter. He worked hard and earned the fourth spot with his upper-90s fastball and devastating curveball and changeup.
His latest start—six innings and two earned runs against the Tigers, with six strikeouts—is just the reason why Doubront can handle the pressure of big games throughout the season. He may need to be on an innings limit, but luckily, the Red Sox have other starters-in-waiting down at the Triple-A level.
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