SEATTLE -- Lost in the Red Sox's improbable march to 19 games over .500 (56-37) are the collection of starters whose contributions are overshadowed by the storyline focusing on clubhouse karma and the winning attitude of the veteran position players.
That's certainly the case for Felix Doubront, whose work in 2013 has been more steady than spectacular. Entering Wednesday, he’d given up three or fewer runs in 10 consecutive starts, but his ERA still hovered above four. He was 2-3 in his last five decisions dating back to May 3.
In Wednesday’s 11-4 win over the Mariners, the left-hander was everything Boston needed. He didn’t dazzle. His stuff didn’t blow away Seattle’s steadily improving lineup.
But he ate up innings -- seven of them -- and allowed the Mariners only one run. He gave up just five hits and struck out six. His fastball didn’t clock much higher than 90 mph, but he effectively mixed his pitches to keep a left-handed heavy Seattle lineup off balance.
Doubront finally received some help too. He entered the third game of his club’s series with the fourth-place team in the AL West averaging just 2.75 runs of support per 9.0 innings pitched since May 3.
Boston staked him 2-0, 4-0, 5-0 and finally 9-0 leads before he finally called it a night.
The timing of his performance couldn’t have been better given the way manager John Farrell has had to shuffle his bullpen since the team touched down in Seattle. On Tuesday, the unit combined to shut down the Mariners for 6 2/3 innings and Doubront, briefly a reliever earlier in his career, had little trouble picking up where it left off.
Not that the Sox lineup didn’t help him along the way.
After missing two games with a sprained left wrist, Jacoby Ellsbury resumed being a catalyst at the top of the order. He finished 3-for-4, scored twice and drove in Jarrod Saltalamacchia in Boston’s four-run sixth inning.
“He gives us a spark of energy in that two-hole,” Farrell said in his daily afternoon press gaggle. “He’s got a personality that will draw some energy out of others. Whether it’s in the clubhouse or the dugout, he gives us a lift.”
Noticeably hobbled the past two games with a sore hamstring, Victorino couldn’t run out every ground ball at full speed Wednesday but still managed to track down fly balls in right field, collect two hits and drive in two runs.
“He’s tough-minded, and he’s a very talented guy,” Farrell said.
The same can be said for the rest of the Red Sox.