Felix Doubront Offers Silver Living for Future After Maturing Throughout Year

note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby
Valentine's words. Each game day, we will select a Valentine quote that sums up
the day for the Red Sox.

On paper, it
was simply another "L" in the standings.

But the Red
Sox were able to take solace in one facet of Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Orioles — Felix Doubront's dazzling end to the season. For the second straight game,
the lefty racked up double-digit strikeouts while logging seven innings.

On this
night, Doubront struck out 10 batters, just one shy of the season high that he
set last week against Baltimore. In his last two starts, the 24-year-old has
tallied a 2.57 ERA and allowed 11 hits while issuing just three walks.

seen a very good pitcher," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "A
guy who has learned all season — learned from his mistakes and learned from
his successes. I know he wasn't stubborn. He learned what he had learned as the
season went on. He changed his tempo. … I think that made a difference in

Felix Doubront Offers Silver Living for Future After Maturing Throughout YearIt's the
perfect building block for the future, considering Doubront is expected to be a
staple of the rotation for years to come. In the process, the lefty showed an
ability to identify and correct his problems.

Just weeks
ago, Valentine and his staff were contemplating shutting Doubront down for the
season. They cited fatigue and "the rookie wall" for the five
straight starts in which he surrendered four or more runs.

Doubront has silenced his critics, peeling off four consecutive quality outings
to punctuate a strong rookie campaign.

I've seen in a guy really maturing," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia told
reporters. "He's really starting to mature and go out there and see what
he's all about. He proved to everybody what he needed to prove. Last two
outings I've caught him, he's been a lot quicker. There's a happy medium, and I
think he knows that now."

But Doubront
still needs to limit his home runs. This season, he's yielded 24 long balls — second to Jon Lester, who has piled up more innings than the youngster.

After 29
starts this season, though, Doubront has certainly made strides from spring training.

preparing myself for next year," Doubront said. "A lot of challenges
and a lot of learning [experiences]. It was a pretty good season for me in my
first full year. I think I figured out something for next year and I need to
keep working."

His future
is a silver lining for the Red Sox.