Webster turns in solid outing in MLB debut

Webster turns in solid outing in MLB debut
April 22, 2013, 12:15 am
Share This Post

BOSTON – Right-hander Allen Webster was one of the Red Sox’ bright lights of spring training. In each of his outings he lit up radar guns, giving scouts something to talk about.
 
Webster, who turned 23 in February, was acquired from the Dodgers in the blockbuster deal in August. He and right-hander Rubby De La Rosa represent the return for allowing the Dodgers to take more than $260 million dollars in salary off the Red Sox books. The potential of those two young arms alone could make the deal a steal for the Sox.
 
In four spring training appearances, he posted a 1.64 ERA, giving up two earned runs in 11 innings. He recorded 14 strikeouts with just one walk. In two starts for Triple-A Pawtucket he is 0-0 with a 0.90 ERA, giving up one run over 10 innings, with 12 strikeouts and three walks.
 
For most observers this spring, it was a matter of when, not if, Webster would be called to help the big league team. And with Sunday’s doubleheader – and the new rule allowing teams to expand their rosters to 26 for that day only – Webster got the call.
 
He went six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, two home runs, and a walk with five strikeouts. He needed just 84 pitches, 57 strikes, in his outing. Webster will return to Pawtucket on Monday, with a respectable major league debut on his resume.
 
But the outing was not without its “welcome to the big leagues, kid” moment. Alex Gordon greeted Webster with a first-pitch double off the wall. Gordon scored one batter later, when Alcides Escobar singled and shortstop Pedro Ciriaco threw the ball into the seats behind the Sox dugout.
 
In the fifth inning, George Kottaras and Gordon each hit their first home runs of the season off Webster.
 
“I thought he showed great poise, good mound presence, had very good stuff, similar to what we saw in spring training,” said manager John Farrell. “With the exception of a couple of fastballs that might have been a little bit elevated in the strike zone, I thought he did everything we could have hoped in a spot start for us.
 
“I thought in the first inning, get back to the mound presence and the poise that he did show, man at second base with nobody out with a run in, a couple of strikeouts, got out of it without any additional damage. I thought he was efficient. The six innings was pretty much the extent of what we were looking at tonight. So he did his job.”
 
Webster, whose five strikeouts were the most by a Sox pitcher in a big-league debut since Clay Buchholz recorded five on Aug. 17, 2007, acknowledged he had some butterflies.
 
“Once I got through the first they went down a bit,” he said.
 
“It was an experience. The fans were amazing. Once I was out there it felt good.

“I wasn’t expecting a first-pitch swing but it happens. It was good to get my feet wet. Once he got on second I had to make my pitches and go from there.”
 
He’ll go back to Pawtucket. But he learned in his first big league outing.
 
“If you miss your spots, you’re going to pay for it,” he said. “Two home runs, so I paid for it.”


*****

Since recording a career-high four hits, including three home runs on April 7 in Toronto, Will Middlebrooks has gone 3-for-39. He went 0-for-5 with a strikeout in the night cap and is now hitting .176.
 
“He’s not swinging the bat or he’s not getting the production as he’s experienced last year,” said Farrell. “But this is someone that he’s our third baseman and we’re going to stick with him and continue to work to get him on track.

“It’s not his wrist [which was injured last season]. There’s no physical issues there. I can’t say that he’s pressing but he’s chasing some pitches out of the strike zone. And he’s not letting the pitch come to him as much as when he’s in a good spot he typically has.”

*****

It was the first time the Sox had been swept in a doubleheader since Sept. 4, 2010, by the White Sox. The Sox are 1-1 in extra innings this season.

*****

Pedro Ciriaco’s first-inning throwing error was the fourth committed by the Red Sox this season and just the fourth by an infielder. Outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Jackie Bradley and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia have also committed errors this season.

*****

The Red Sox, MLB, the players’ association, and Red Sox fans donated $646,500 to The One Fund to assist those most affected by the bombings at the Marathon finish line on April 15.

*****

Before  his fly ball to left field in the fourth inning was ruled a three-base error, Mike Carp had reached base in his five previous plate appearances with extra-base hits in the last four.

*****

With his third-inning single Dustin Pedroia extended a streak of reaching base safely to all 18 games this season and 28 straight going back to Sept. 21, 2012. He is the first Red Sox player to reach base in the team's first 17 games of a season since Manny Ramirez did it in the first 23 games in 2001.

*****

Jacoby Ellsbury went 2-for-4 extending his hitting streak to 11 games. It is the longest streak by a Sox batter this season,  the longest active streak in the American League, and the fourth-longest in the AL this season.

*****

Giving up Billy Butler’s home run in the eighth, Koji Uehara snapped his streak of scoreless innings at 18 1/3 and 22 games going back to Sept. 1, 2012. Uehara was charged with a blown save, his first since April 27, 2011, against the Red Sox while with the Orioles.