Farrell sees improvement in Webster

Farrell sees improvement in Webster
July 3, 2013, 6:00 pm
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BOSTON – Rookie right-hander Allen Webster is scheduled to start Thursday in the homestand finale against the Pirates. It will be his fifth start of the season since and third since being called up June 22.
 
In his last start, Friday against Toronto, Webster went six innings, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts. The Red Sox won, be he was not involved in the decision, as he lowered his ERA from 11.25 to 9.50.
 
Before that outing, Webster had struggled with giving up runs early in the game. Nine of the 16 runs he had allowed to that point came in the first inning. On Friday, though, he kept the Blue Jays off the scoreboard until the fifth inning.
 
Manager John Farrell has seen improvements in the highly regarded prospect in his three stints with the major league team, including a one-day assignment on April 21 when he was brought up as the 26th man for a doubleheader against the Royals.
 
“The last couple starts we’ve seen more of a defined three-pitch mix and more of a willingness to use all three pitches,” Farrell said. “Couple starts ago against Minnesota [on May 8, when Webster lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up eight runs] he didn’t have the luxury of getting into the flow of the game and things kind of got out of hand early. But last outing against Toronto when he was able to get through that first inning, putting up a zero, it seemed he got into the rhythm of the gam better.
 
“I think with each start that he gets under his belt, there’s not only a maybe more of a known commodity on his part with what this environment is like and pitching here in the big leagues is like, I think he’s slowly getting his feet on the ground, which  you would come to expect form a young guy. But he’s still in that transition phase too of becoming a big league pitcher.”
 
And being with the team for an extended period should help with that transition.
 
“Probably a little bit more relaxed demeanor,” Farrell said. “Not so much on game day but in between starts, that with each day he’s absorbing all the things that go on here, the speed of the game, how other guys go about their game plan and attack it, and really I think the thing that's shining through is his realization of how consistent you have to be, and you don’t have that luxury of a couple of hitters to get in the flow of things.”
 
Part of that is learning to trust his stuff.
 
“Every day a pitcher walks to the mound, and I’m sure at some point Jon Lester will think that tonight,” Farrell said.  “Sure you’ve got to have confidence, you want to be careful that you don’t’ give the opposition too much, you don’t feel like you’ve got to paint yourself into a corner. He’s got to two strikes early in the count, that can be said for any guy that walks out there. But I think he’s starting to realize how good his stuff is and trust it. And when a pitchers’ not muscling up or feeling like they’ve got to get extra velocity, that's where the life of the strike zone is really going to emerge for him.”
 
Asked who Webster reminds him of, Farrell replied:
 
“When you think of right-handers who have that power sinker and a good breaking ball, Charlie Nagy is a guy that comes to mind. But at the same time want to be careful as to not label a guy and let them go out and be themselves. And not that they’ve got to become someone else, but the one thing that stood out the other night is the number of groundballs that he can put in play, and in this ballpark, I think that’s key and it gives him the ability really to  record two outs with one pitch.”

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