BOSTON — Allen Webster supplied the Red Sox with his offseason parting gift Thursday.
One night after Anthony Ranaudo finished his strong year of development with a solid start against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park, Webster followed suit, producing another very good outing to close out his season on a positive note. Webster now enters the offseason with a head of steam.
“Much like we talked about with (Anthony) Ranaudo (Wednesday night), the final start of the year with some increased confidence going into the offseason,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Boston’s 11-1 win over Tampa Bay. “And even furthermore with (Webster), just some momentum as he finishes things out this year.”
Webster allowed one earned run on seven hits over a career-high seven innings Thursday. He struck out five, walked one and threw 99 pitches (62 strikes). The success was a continuation of what Webster had built over his last three starts following a six-run yield Aug. 30. He now looks poised to take the next step in 2015 despite some up-and-down results upon first joining the Red Sox in late July.
Webster, who went 4-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 21 appearances (20 starts) with Triple-A Pawtucket this season before earning a major league call-up, went 5-3 with a 5.03 ERA in 11 starts with Boston. He improved significantly down the stretch, however, as Webster showed both better command and seemingly pitched with more confidence. It looked like Webster learned to trust his stuff more and, in turn, saw better results.
“He’s starting to use his four-seamer a little bit more, which he’s able to keep on the plate and go to an area in the strike zone to get a strike when needed,” Farrell said. “That enables him to use his two-seamer with some added action rather than trying to fight back into the count all the time.”
Webster allowed exactly one walk and two runs or fewer in each of his final three starts. He posted a 2-0 record and 1.93 ERA (four earned runs over 18 2/3 innings) in that stretch, which coincided with a continued emphasis on the 24-year-old’s mechanics.
“I’m going to look at everything I did this year and not forget about anything and just continue and start working hard from there,” Webster said while reflecting on his season. “Just keeping going at it.”
Webster had highs and lows in his second taste of the majors with Boston. But while it remains to be seen whether he’ll be considered for the Red Sox’s Opening Day rotation in 2015, he certainly ended his audition with a bang.
Photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images