There's been an awful lot of post-game coverage of Game 2 of the ALCS, and rightly so, as there was so much drama packed into this game, it is hard not to rehash it over and over. But I find myself disappointed to hear nary a mention of something I found to be very significant good news. And that is Felix Doubront holding his own as a reliever.
What Felix did was something we weren't sure Felix could do; hold a potent offense quiet in late relief in an important game. A more-than-solid starter this year, and the Red Sox one reliable starter through the rough middle of the season, he's never pitched in relief before the last couple weeks of this season and has had to adapt quickly. As of Sunday night's game, the jury was still out, in my book, as to whether he could be depended on in this role.
He came through, facing 5 batters but allowing only one baserunner, on a walk. This to me is a relevation that bodes well for the rest of the playoffs.
At the time in the game that he pitched, finishing the top of the 7th and pitching the 8th, the mood of Red Sox fans wasn't exactly optimistic. Some seem to have mostly given up on the game, so it's understandable that they weren't being very attentive. "Go ahead and give up 6000 runs, it doesn't matter, they can't come back now" was the attitude some were expressing in online forums.
But of course in hindsight, what Doubront did was extremely important, keeping the game within a grand slam of tying. Not that a grand slam was all that likely ...
And he did it in a role we still weren't sure he could succeed in at all.
But then Doubront's success has been rather quiet all year long. He's not as flashy a player as Pedroia or Papi or Uehara. Not as demonstrative as Lester or Peavy or Gomes. He just manages to quietly keep every game under control, and within reach of winning, and that's really all a team like the Red Sox need to end up winning a lot of games.
Let's spread some of the appreciation around to this player who has been a key piece of the Red Sox remarkable season.