Webster impresses Red Sox with latest outing

Webster impresses Red Sox with latest outing
March 16, 2014, 5:45 pm
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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Two of the Red Sox top pitching prospects combined to allow eight runs in the Red Sox' 8-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday.
     
But one pitcher had a far better afternoon than the other.
     
Starter Allen Webster, who went four innings plus one batter, was charged with three runs on three hits and three walks, but pitched better than his line indicated.
     
"I thought today Allen Webster continues to grow as a pitcher," said John Farrell. "There were some things that happened to him today that are going to happen to him from time to time behind him and I thought he did a great job  maintaining his poise, continuing to make pitches, continuing to put the ball on the ground and keep things from becoming a big inning."
     
A windblown double and an error by Will Middlebrooks contributed to a run in the first. In the third, an error by second baseman Brock Holt wiped out what could have been an inning-ending double play.
     
"I thought he threw the ball very well," said catcher David Ross. "That's probably the best I've seen him. He doesn't even have his command yet. We didn't play good defense behind him. We didn't do the things that we usually do very well."
     
Webster is evolving this spring, focusing more on a two-seam fastball rather than trying to overpower hitters with a four-seamer.
     
"He's got a two-seamer now that's really, really sinking well," said Ross. "He's learning to pitch with it. He's going to very special here soon. He's figuring some things out. He's a totally different pitcher (compared to last year); he was trying to throw the ball by guys. Totally different pitcher now. He's really coming into his own, maturing, asking the right questions.
     
"He's moving in the right direction. I like what he showed me today. He pitched with some ease and no effort. There weren't a lot of balls hit hard. It was nice to see."
    
Webster labeled the outing "the improvement I needed. I feel real confident coming out of it."
     
The Sox have been working with Webster on some mechanical adjustments.
     
"Today was one of the first days when I wasn't thinking about (the changes) at all," he said. "I was just out there throwing and pitches were down in the zone, to both corners. They have me staying back, with my head over my back foot and not drifting forward. When I drift forward, I tend to sail balls."
     
Less successful was Drake Britton, who was pounded for five runs on six hits with two walks and a wild pitch.
     
"He's thrown the ball really well this spring,'' said Ross," but today was just not his day. He wasn't sharp. I think he's had a few days off -- little rusty and his slider wasn't sharp."
     
"I just wasn't finishing my pitches," said Britton, who took over for Webster with a runner on and no out in the fifth. "A lot of the hits I gave up, a lot of them were on 0-and-2. I should have done a better job of executing. But as much as it sucks to go through an outings like that, it's good as well. It teaches me discipline, the things I need to work on to get ready for the season.
     
"Today was a rough one, but tomorrow's a new day."