BOSTON –- After the game, an 8-2 win over the Mariners at Fenway Park, Brandon Workman wasn’t trying to play it cool.
“It's great,” he said. “It's something I've dreamed about since I was a boy. To make that happen tonight was great.”
He was referring to his first career major league win, in his fourth game, third start. He went six innings, giving up one run on six hits with nine strikeouts and a walk. The only run he allowed came in the first inning. His outing ended when he struck out Michael Morse and Justin Smoak, swinging at fastballs with the bases loaded to end the sixth.
“Hopefully tonight is the first of many wins for him as he goes forward,” said manager John Farrell. “As we’ve seen in the three starts he’s made, once he gets through the first or second inning he really starts to find a very good rhythm. I thought he showed a tremendous amount of poise particularly in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and gets two key strikeouts of Smoak and Morse. But the thing that stands out is just his willingness to attack the strike zone. He pitched in very well, very effectively to left-handers with his fastball and a solid six innings of work.”
“He’s been outstanding in the starting role.”
In his three starts, Workman has held opponents to two or fewer runs going at least six innings in each. He is the first Sox pitcher to do so since Rick Jones’ first three major league starts in 1976. He is the first Sox pitcher to strike out nine or more batters in one of his first four major league games since Clay Buchholz no-hit the Orioles in his second big league game on Sept. 1, 2007.
Workman demonstrated his poise in the sixth inning.
“It wasn't like I was trying to bear down and do something extra,” he said. “It was just trying to get back to executing the pitches I'd made all game and have success with those.”
“That was big,” said Dustin Pedroia. “He bared down and attacked the zone. He's got great stuff. That was a big couple outs for us.
“He's throwing the ball great. He's attacking the zone. He's got great stuff. He's tough out there. He doesn't look like a young guy. He looks like a veteran guy. He's been throwing the ball great.”
At 24 years old, Workman is the youngest Sox pitcher to strikeout out nine or more batters with no more than one walk and one run allowed since Kevin Morton was 22 on July 5, 1991, against Detroit.
“I was able to throw my curveball for strikes tonight,” Workman said. “It's something I haven't been able to do my past couple outings, but I've been working on it in the bullpen and kind of got it down to where I could throw it in the zone tonight.
“It's great that they have confidence in me, to let me make these starts and think that I can help contribute. It's something I'm trying to make the most of.”
But now that the Sox have acquired right-hander Jake Peavy, Workman is likely to go back to the bullpen.
“That's not my place to say,” Workman said. “That's not something I try to worry about. I'm just trying to go out there and do the best I can whenever they give me the ball, whatever role that may be in.”
“Every report from the development staff who have done a great job with him has been what we've seen, and that’s the poise, that’s the ability to use his fastball to get outs, not afraid to challenge the strike zone,” Farrell said. “We did bring him up [to be a reliever] but when things kind of went a little hectic we pressed him into the start, and opportunity knocks and he’s grabbed a hold of it, and he’s running with it right now.”