Originally written on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 4/10/12

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Felix Doubront didn't pitch as deep into the game as the Red Sox would have liked. But while he was on the mound Monday night, there were no complaints.
    
Doubront allowed two runs on four hits while striking out six against the Toronto Blue Jays. The only problem was, thanks to his pitch count, he was lifted after five, having already thrown 101 pitches.
    
"That was a really well-pitched game by Felix," gushed manager Bobby Valentine. "He took spring training right into the game. I thought he had great stuff. His curve ball was terrific. His fastball was moving."
    
"I was pretty much focused on throwing strikes," said Doubront, who set a career high with his six strikeouts. "I was focusing on keeping the ball down, no matter what. I threw five innings and kept the score like that and waited for the team to get some runs and win the game."

CSNNE | Doubront impresses in first start of season

Hey look, we got a win! And a lot of the credit goes to Felix, who kept us in the game -- something Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz couldn't do.

Granted, it was a short outing. Felix had trouble throwing strikes, and on at least one occasion (in an at bat against Jose Bautista) showed a lot of emotion in not getting calls to go his way. Salty recognized that he might be losing his cool, went out to talk to Doubront, and they induced a popout on an excellent inside slider.

So no, it wasn't a perfect game. It wasn't a lock-down performance. It didn't rest our bullpen, by any means. But it got the job done. Perhaps most importanly: It takes some of the pressure of Daniel Bard in his start today. Pair that with Aceves' successful save and maybe we'll avoid some of the closer controversy.

On page 2, David Ortiz: Base Stealer.

The last thing anyone expected to see in the seventh inning of last night’s 4-2Red Sox [team stats] victory was David Ortiz [stats] taking off on a straight steal. The play certainly caught the Blue Jays by surprise, with catcher J.P. Arencibia having no choice but to fire from his knees.

Though his perfect throw nailed Ortiz in a bang-bang play at second, the play was significant from a Red Sox perspective for what it represented — an atypical aggressiveness that’s being emphasized by manager Bobby Valentine this season.

“I don’t know . . . a one-run game in the seventh inning is a little dicey, I’d say,” Valentine said. “(But) you know, it’s going to get guys to hold him on base and create a hole for the guys who are hitting behind him. I think it’s a necessary strategy.”

Herald | Bobby V's go-go Sox trying new strategy

We're going to see a lot of different stuff this year with the Sox. No more conserving outs by all means. Bobby wants bunts, steals -- all kinds of "aggressive" strategies that will clearly identify this team from last year's.

I've got enough of a stat-y side to be skeptical of this approach, though I definitely buy into the idea that the threat of a steal is sometimes just as good as a steal itself.

That said, the strategy doesn't need to apply to David Ortiz. Papi made a pretty good attempt on the steal, and was thisclose to being safe, but let's not make a habit of it.

CSNNE | Third time's a charm for Red Sox' Aceves | Ortiz looks to steal if given the space this season | Sox come back in 9th, this time hold on, 4-2 | Bard preparing for Tuesday start, relieving not on mind | Herald | Pedroia wows skipper | Leave Bard in rotation | Rally in 9th saves Sox | Globe | Cloud nine | Pedroia does job, to the letter | Stretched out Bard finally gets his start | ESPNBoston | Red Sox rally in ninth to avoid back-to-back 0-4 starts | Red Sox breathe sigh of relief | Bobby Valentine to stay with bullpen

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