Toronto, ON, Canada; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Felix Doubront delivers a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
Felix Doubront helped the Red Sox to their first win of the season last night, but if you missed the game and just took a look at who picked up the W, you might have missed that. That's because, as good as Doubront was in terms of results and holding the Jays to just two runs, he got through just five innings of nine innings.
He threw his four-seam fastball 33 times, the most of any of his offerings. It was also his most significant problem of the evening. Just under half of those pitches were strikes (62 percent is the league average), and only one of the 33 resulted in a swing-and-miss. He couldn't punch it by hitters like he needed to -- in addition to the one whiff, seven of the pitches were fouled off, more than you'd expect from the average four-seamer.
We're talking about one outing here, but this has been a problem of Doubront at times in the past. His command can get away from him on occasion, and if not for those three walks he had last night, you could have said he put up a dominating performance with more strikeouts than innings pitched, one that would have gone on for longer than the five innings it did. Speaking of those punch outs, of the 13 change-ups he threw against the Jays, 11 of them went for strikes, with three of them inducing whiffs. That was his most successful pitch of the game, easily, and a good sign for the young lefty that he could utilize it effectively.
He'll need to be more efficient and accurate with his four-seamer and let his defense do more of the work to keep his pitch count down (that's what he has a sinker for, after all). That's something manager Bobby Valentine has already talked about.. But let's not discount last night's performance: in addition to seeing first-hand the things there are to worry about with Doubront, we got a chance to see why he could be important for Boston's 2012 success, too.