He channeled his inner-Dennis Rodman as I wrote about. As a result, the Red Sox have their first win of the season under the Bobby Valentine administration.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 4-2: And the tide has suddenly turned. Dustin Pedroia ignited it with a leadoff double and moved over to third on a wild pitch.
Then, Ryan Sweeney came in the clutch — once again. With Darnell McDonald pinch running for David Ortiz, Sweeney hit a single to drive in the go-ahead run. It's a solid start for Sweeney, who is looking to improve his power numbers.
So here's the question — who will close it out?
Bottom 8th, Blue Jays 2-1: Scott Atchison for closer? OK, probably not going to happen, but he's dazzled in relief.
This marks three scoreless innings and three strikeouts for Atchison. To think, the guy wasn't sure how much stuff he should've packed when he left Fort Myers, considering he was a fringe.
Mid 8th, Blue Jays 2-1: Jacoby Ellsbury hit a sharp liner to first base and Adam Lind scooped it up to rob him.
The Red Sox aren't getting the breaks right now. One day, the offense is rolling and the bullpen is shaky. The next day, the bullpen is strong and the offense is struggling to post runs.
Bottom 7th, Blue Jays 2-1: Scott Atchison has continued to impress in relief, retiring Johnson and Arencibia on groundouts while getting Rasmus to fly out.
Mid 7th, Blue Jays 2-1: Wow, David Ortiz attempted to steal second base. The craziest part is he was really close to succeeding.
Bobby Valentine certainly made that call and it shows his risky and creative way of game managing. In the end, the Sox didn't make much of a dent this inning.
Bottom 6th, Blue Jays 2-1: Look at Scott Atchison. He notched two strikeouts in the inning, giving the Sox some necessary relief.
It's situations like these that Bobby Valentine needed to carry 13 pitchers for the opening roster.
Mid 6th, Blue Jays 2-1: Dustin Pedroia unloaded a solo shot to deep center field to get his first homer of the season.
A nice start for him and I'm sure it helps that he doesn't have that screw in his foot anymore.
Bottom 5th, Blue Jays 2-0: Felix Doubront hit the 100-pitch mark after five innings.
He's looked very good with six strikeouts, but he'll definitely want to cut down on those pitches moving forward and spread them out.
It looks like the bullpen will be worked all over again. This time, it appears Scott Atchison will be getting the call. Here's what Atchison had to say about Bobby Valentine's creative approach.
Mid 5th, Blue Jays 2-0: Cody Ross recorded his first hit of the season in the inning. He's prepared well for patrolling left field in Fenway with the experience in spring training.
Earlier in the spring, Bobby Valentine said that once Carl Crawford returns, Ross will likely shift to the right side of the outfield.
Bottom 4th, Blue Jays 2-0: Felix Doubront's pitch count is getting pretty high up here. He — and the Red Sox for that matter — could benefit from a quick, fifth inning.
If it doesn't work out, the Sox could wind up taxing the bullpen once again. This time around, Vicente Padilla won't be available to bail them out.
Mid 4th, Blue Jays 2-0: Seems like that at-bat between Kevin Youkilis and Henderson Alvarez took forever.
As he's done all day, Alvarez induced a groundout. So far, Youkilis is 0-for-2 and it brings him to 0-for-10 so for this season.
Although it's surprising, it still isn't because Youkilis tweaked his stance a little bit. With that change, there's always an adjustment period. That could be the case.
Bottom 3rd, Blue Jays 2-0: This is the first shred of adversity that Felix Doubront has faced in this young season.
He's pitched well in the game, but Toronto touched him up two runs — keyed by Colby Rasmus' triple and Edwin Encarnacion's RBI single.
It will be interesting to see how he approaches the situation and bounces back. As a young starter, these are the situations that are integral in one's development.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: For a 21-year-old, Henderson Alvarez is certainly showing a lot of poise.
He's inducing grounder after grounder and got all three hitters in the third out on ground outs. So far, it looks like we have a pitching duel on our hands.
Bottom 2nd, 0-0: Brett Lawrie got the only hit off of Doubront in the inning.
Remember Lawrie's name. He made a splash as a rookie in 2011, hitting .293 with nine homers and 25 RBIs in only 150 at-bats.
If he keeps up that pace in his first full year, Lawrie could wind up being a thorn in Boston's side.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Teams keep putting the shift on David Ortiz and the designated hitter keeps finding holes.
He belted a single to get a hit in his fourth straight game, so he's keep guys on their toes. Ortiz was in tremendous shape in the spring and his performance showed.
Add in the pressure of another one-year contract and Ortiz could be primed for a strong year.
Bottom 1st: 0-0: Felix Doubront didn't shy away from slugger Jose Bautista, forcing him to ground out into a double play.
Back in Fort Myers, I remember seeing how nervous Doubront was as he awaited the news of being tabbed a starter. Once Bob McClure called him into Bobby Valentine's office and gave the news, you couldn't wipe the smile off Doubront's face.
He's here to make the most of the opportunity now and expressed a lot of confidence.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Henderson Alvarez looked sharp in that inning, getting Adrian Gonzalez to whiff on a 3-2 count for the strikeout.
Alvarez and starter Felix Doubront are certainly making Carabobo, Venezuela proud on Monday. Both starting pitchers hail from the city in Venezuela and Doubront said they know each other pretty well.
In this game, they'll obviously put that friendship aside.
7:05 p.m.: Here are the lineups.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Cody Ross, LF
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Mike Aviles, SS
Felix Doubront, P
Yunel Escobar, SS
Kelly Johnson, 2B
Jose Bautista, RF
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Adam Lind, 1B
Brett Lawrie, 3B
Rajai Davis, LF
J.P. Arencibia, C
Colby Rasmus, CF
Henderson Alvarez, P
10:45 a.m. ET: After suffering a sweep at the hands of the Tigers, the Red Sox (0-3) are making the trek to Toronto with the hopes of halting their losing streak against the Blue Jays (2-1).
Left-hander Felix Doubront will be taking the hill against the American League East rivals after winning a spot in the rotation with a strong performance this spring. It will mark the 24-year-old's first start for the Sox since 2010, when he started three games.
Henderson Alvarez will take the mound for the Blue Jays in their home opener at 7:07 p.m. He showed promise as a rookie in 2011, posting a 3.53 ERA through 10 starts, and will have his first crack at the Red Sox' potent lineup.
For details and analysis of all the action, follow the NESN.com live blog and tune in to the game on NESN.
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