SEATTLE -- When manager Bobby Valentine announced a couple of weeks ago that Franklin Morales was moving to the rotation to fill in for the injured Josh Beckett, it seemed like a stop-gap move.
It's turned out to be a lot more than that.
Morales made his third start on Thursday night, and it was his best. He fired seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out seven in the Sox's 1-0 loss to the Mariners.
"I feel very confident in myself," said Morales. "Bobby gave me the confidence and the opportunity to start. I tried to do the best that I can."
The only reason Morales got a no-decision instead of a win is because he was up against one of the best pitchers in the game in Felix Hernandez, who was all but untouchable.
In his three starts, Morales is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA.
"Well, I don't think anyone can pitch like this all season, but he's pitched extremely well," said Valentine. "He was aggressive in the strike zone. He was consistent with all three pitches in the strike zone and throwing them at any time in the count. He was pitching in and out and up and down. That's pretty good stuff. That's what you teach."
The left-hander will make his next start on Wednesday afternoon, when the Red Sox finish this seven-game road trip against the Oakland Athletics.
While Beckett will return to the rotation on Saturday, Morales will keep taking his turn as well.
"It's not on my calendar of things to do," Valentine said when asked about taking Morales out of the rotation. "I'll take it one game at a time."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.