Left-hander Felix Doubront tossed four shutout innings against much of the New York Yankees’ big league lineup. Right-hander Michael Bowden followed by striking out the side in the fifth. And then righty Vicente Padilla finished things off with three perfect innings and four strikeouts in a 1-0 victory at George Steinbrenner Field.
The most encouraging performance belonged to Doubront, who is battling to win the fifth starter’s job.
“Felix was outstanding,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “He had really good control of his changeup, which is a devastating pitch for him.”
Doubront allowed two hits and struck out three, throwing 75 pitches. He went through the Yankees lineup twice and, even though New York worked the count, was effective.
Herald - Felix Doubront leads way vs. Yankees
Doubront excelled against some pretty darn good batters yesterday. A-Rod, Teixeira, Gardner, Russel Martin, Ibanez. Even old friend Bill Hall struck out twice (shocker!). Going four innings against those guys and only surrendering 2 hits and 1 walk with 3 K's is a great game.
Unfortunately, it took Felix 75 pitches to make it through those 4 innings. Before the 2012 season wraps up, you're going to see a few guys get a turn pitching in that number 5 spot. The guy that owns the position isn't necessarily going to be the guy that can put up the prettiest stats. It's going to be the pitcher that can give the Sox 6-7 solid innings every time out.
By no means am I dismissing Felix based on one Spring Training game against New York (who, like the Red Sox, will always make pitchers throw a ton of pitches). If Bobby let him continue, he very well could have had a 5 pitch 5th inning and a 10 pitch 6th, with enough left in the tank to head to the mound in the 7th. We'll never know.
Now that Felix has shown Valentine that he can pitch well, his next step has to be proving that he can do it more efficiently. The job is probably his to start the season, thanks to the combination of his lack of minor league options and better pitching options. But if we have to consistently burn through a few bullpen arms to finish his games, the job won't be his for long.
On Page 2, Bobby keeps the Guillen story going