Saltalamacchia on Doubront: 'The stuff he's got is best in the league'

Saltalamacchia on Doubront: 'The stuff he's got is best in the league'
June 14, 2012, 4:56 am
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MIAMI -- Felix Doubront followed his worst start of the season with one of his best.
Five days after being clubbed for six runs against the Washington Nationals, Doubront took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and went seven fulls innings for the first time in his career, limiting the Miami Marlins to two runs in a 10-2 Red Sox victory.
"He had all of his arsenal tonight,'' marveled Bobby Valentine. "With an explosive fastball, his curveball was thrown for strikes, a good changeup and a cutter...Wow, that's good pitching. He was very good tonight.''
Doubront has been mostly good all season and is tied with Clay Buchholz for most wins (seven) on the Red Sox staff. But his last outing was uncharacteristic for him and he was determined to put it behind him.
The lefty issued a one-out walk in the first, but then retired the next 16 Marlins he faced. He struck out the side in the third, and fanned the first two hitters he faced in the sixth and still hadn't allowed a hit.
That changed when Jose Reyes, who hit triples in each of the first two games of the series, laced a homer into the seats in left, spoiling the no-hitter and shutout in one swing.
"I was feeling that something was going on,'' said Doubront, "but I was just enjoying it and focusing on winning.''
Doubront said he focused on making some adjustments from the start against the Nationals, with a special emphasis placed on doing a better job keeping the ball down in the strike zone.
"I wanted to do better and get my confidence back,'' said Doubront. "I was ready to focus on what I was doing.''
Doubront stumbled some in the seventh, allowing a leadoff single to Hanley Ramirez and a double to Giancarlo Stanton, bringing the potential tying run to the plate.
Valentine visited him on the mound, reminding him to stay focused, and let him get through the inning, retiring the next three hitters.
Never before had Doubront completed the seventh inning.
"I was waiting for that,'' said Doubront, who improved to 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA. "Finally.''
"I don't think he was looking at it, thinking, 'If I don't (get through the seventh), it's a bad start,'' said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "But it's a good thing from a personal standpoint. It's like, 'I'm getting better, I'm starting to get there, and get my pitch count down.' Which is what we want.''
Saltalamacchia isn't surprised with the success Doubront has enjoyed this year.
"The stuff he's got is the best, best in the league,'' said the catcher. "He's up there with CC (Sabathia) and Jonny (Lester) and all those guys as far as lefthanded pitchers go.''