Though I didn't take this photo, I was present at Felix Doubront's MLB debut in June, and he struck out Manny Ramirez during his first return to Fenway Park.
It's always about the pitching. Despite two rain delays totaling two hours and forty-three minutes (according to the estimable and meticulous Peter Abraham), Clay Buchholz went six innings and allowed no runs, scattering five hits and three walks.
Daniel Bard relieved then Buch in the seventh inning, and stumped the Jays; despite a wild pitch and a walk, the presumptive close-in-waiting got through the frame with two strikeouts, and without letting up a run.
However, for me, the most interesting pitching performance was by youngster Felix Doubront, who came in to pitch the eighth inning while the Sox were leading by just three runs. As we have come to expect from the young southpaw, Doubront got through the inning with a small hiccup of an infield single.
The Red Sox would score two runs in the bottom of the eighth, and so the warming-Papelbon sat back down and allowed Doubront to finish the contest.
Despite a triple(!) by David Ortiz, I think the most exciting aspect of the game was the pitching of Felix Doubront, who proved (once again) that he is capable of pitching in important situations. Sure, this wasn't the World Series, or even a particularly high-stakes game, but it wasn't a blowout, either.
According to SoxProspects.com, Doubront
"utilizes a 91-94 mph fastball, a very good 79-81 mph changeup with screwball action, and an impressive-but-inconsistent mid-70s curveball. Flawless and fluid downward pitching motion with excellent control. Deceptive delivery, hitters don't pick up the ball until late, causing his fastball to look a little faster. Used to struggle against left-handed batters, but seemed to fix this issue in 2009. He has a reserved and modest demeanor, but is aggressive and poised on the mound. "
Well, we're certainly seeing all that, and I think Doubront's promise extends far beyond being a poised reliever. If so, I think he needs a nickname... Prince Felix, anyone?