Allen Webster Impresses Scouts, Players, Will Thrive Once He Finds Comfort Zone

Allen Webster Don mailbagAllen Webster has gotten a number of spot starts and has continued to struggle, but that hasn’t stopped the Red Sox from giving him opportunities.

Webster allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings on Saturday in Detroit, with four of the runs coming in the first inning. The Sox’ rotation looks to be three men deep, with Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront and John Lackey coming through with some pretty solid performances — and Webster making inconsistent starts in between.

The Sox haven’t given up on Webster just yet. The right-hander has shown flashes of the skill that makes him so intriguing. Let’s look at that and more in this week’s mailbag.

What is your favorite ballpark to eat at and be an announcer for?
— Danny Vail

Two different questions and two different answers. Favorite to eat at is Houston Astros Minute Maid Park. Best fried chicken I have ever had. Camden Yards in Baltimore probably has the best broadcast location and viewing sight lines.

How good does Iglesias’ sprint to first look from the booth? Would you say he’s got more “takeoff” than [Pedro] Ciriaco?
— Joshua Jameson

I think one of the reasons we have seen Jose Iglesias get so many infield hits is because of his ability to get out of the box quickly. I think he is a tad quicker out of the box than Pedro Ciriaco was. However, I think Ciriaco was faster overall.

Did you ever consider playing baseball, or any sport for that matter, instead of commentating?
— Alex Payson

Sadly, my baseball career ended my senior year of high school. My best days were in Little League in Madison, N.H. It was pretty clear my chances of playing even in college were remote. So, I decided to take another route to professional baseball.

What can the Sox do about pitching in the short term? With recent injuries and meltdowns from [Andrew] Bailey and [Allen] Webster, do you think Koji [Uehara] will be successful as closer and Webster can be successful in the big leagues?
— Neil Axelrod

Scouts are impressed with Allen Webster. He had very good stuff against Detroit on Saturday, but, again, had bad results. Listening to the Tigers hitters in the postgame, they were also impressed. I think he will be fine when he gets comfortable at this level. I also think Koji Uehara is the best pick for the closer’s spot. He has experience and has a great knack for getting quick outs and innings. The one concern will be his effectiveness in back-to-back days situations.

What is your scariest moment on the job?
— Penny Farnsworth Shonio

My first game was pretty scary for me personally. Generally, the scariest games involve serious injuries. I think one of the scariest for me was when Matt Clement got hit in head on the mound at the Tropicana Field. He was motionless for awhile, and we all really did not know how he was for a long time. Amazingly, the mound at the Trop has seen two pitchers this season get hit in the head — J.A. Happ for Toronto and Alex Cobb for the Rays.

What would you be doing if your career in the booth didn’t work out?
— Pennie McVicker Don

Good question. I really don”t know. I sort of put all my eggs in one basket and was very lucky. I did both minor league hockey and minor league baseball, which I felt gave me the best chance to make it in at least one sport. So if the Red Sox had not given me the opportunity, maybe I would have ended up doing hockey instead.

Should the Red Sox take the chance of signing Brian Wilson?
— Bubba Lehan

I would, and I think he would be great with this group of guys. Obviously, the New Hampshire tie is kind of cool, but when he was good, he was really good. Especially with the closer situation as it is, I would see it as a viable option. You always worry about how some guys would handle the stage in Boston, but I think he is one closer who could.

With the Sox’ relatively surprising success this year, will this be the year that makes or breaks Ben Cherington’s time in Boston as we see how he handles the pressures of an impending trade deadline and a team that appears to be one right player away from a serious run?
— Justin Pheley

I think Ben has done a great job on this team as it is already. I am pleasantly surprised by how deep this team is and underestimated how good it would be. I think he will address some of the other issues to better the team if it is doable without giving away too many prospects. I think the farm system is really starting to produce some quality players who be options in the near future. I view this year as success for the GM.

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