BOSTON - Allen Webster takes the hill for the Sox Thursday night as they open up a four-game series against the Houston Astros.
It's Webster's (2-1) fourth start of the season, and one he hopes to build off of his last start against another AL West opponent, the Angels.
Webster went 6.2 innings against the Angels last Friday, allowing two runs on just four hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
The win was a great sign for Webster, who had struggled with command over his first two starters. Going into last Friday's game, Webster had walked 11 batters in 8.0 innings pitched.
"More consistent strike one," John Farrell said Thursday of Webster's last start. "And I thought he and Christian [Vazquez] did a good job of using his slider in particular against right-handed hitters and allowing him to get back in the strike zone if he missed with a particular fast ball."
Control has been something that the team's entire pitching staff has had trouble with lately, not just Webster. Since the All-Star break, Boston's starting pitchers have walked a major league-leading 70 batters in 144.1 IP. Of those 70 batters that drew walks, 28 have scored (40%).
Webster and Vazquez spent time together at Pawtucket before both were called up during the season. That can only help the two when they work together up in Boston.
"There is some familiarity," Farrell said, "so it's not like a young pitcher comes to a catcher that hasn't been on the receiving end, is maybe unfamiliar with the way a sinker might work or a breaking ball might work. So at least there's some report there before they look to implement a game plan here."
This will be Webster's first career start against the Astros.
The Red Sox took two of three in Houston prior to the All-Star Break. They are 15-4 against the Astros all-time. In those games the Sox have outscored them, 123-67.