Allen Webster’s Aggressiveness An Encouraging Sight For Boston Red Sox


September 12, 2014

Allen WebsterAllen Webster stood out.

Webster, who has done little to separate himself from the Boston Red Sox?s pack of young starting pitchers, outshined Kansas City Royals star rookie Yordano Ventura on Friday in a 4-2 win at Kauffman Stadium. Webster?s aggressiveness and shutdown ability gave the Red Sox something to feel good about.

“I was warming up in the bullpen (before the game), and from there, I just felt really good with my mechanics,” Webster said. “I just started attacking the zone and took it out to the game, and from there, I still felt good with my mechanics.”

It wasn?t a dominant effort by Webster, who allowed two earned runs on four hits over six innings en route to his first victory since Aug. 14. He only struck out two — the second time in nine starts this season he finished with less than three strikeouts — and nearly let a lead slip away in the fourth inning. But for a young pitcher who has seen things unravel in the past, it was a very encouraging outing.

?He was down in the strike zone,? Red Sox manager John Farrell said. ?Not to be too general, but he didn?t overthrow, he stayed behind the ball, stayed behind his arm well and he didn?t have that two- or three-hitter span where his command would elude him.?

The Royals? only two runs came on Eric Hosmer?s fourth-inning homer. Kansas City threatened for more in the inning — Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain produced back-to-back singles with two outs — but Webster escaped the jam by retiring Alcides Escobar on a flyout to center field. Webster then set down the next six hitters on 15 pitches, demonstrating the type of assertiveness that served him well earlier this season.

Webster threw 55 of his 83 pitches for strikes, good for a 66.3 strike percentage. It represents an uptick over the 60.2 strike percentage he carried into the start and the 59.9 strike percentage he posted in 2013. Webster threw 21 pitches and 25 pitches in the second and fourth innings, respectively, but otherwise was very economical.

?A higher percentage of strikes tonight. I thought he was ahead in the count a little bit more frequently. And he had a very good changeup against some left-handers to slow them down,? Farrell said. ?With the exception of the one changeup that stayed up to Hosmer, he was efficient, he was powerful and it was encouraging to see not only the number of strikes but the overall command of the strike zone.?

Webster probably could have gone another inning, but Farrell opted to turn to his very effective bullpen, ending the 24-year-old?s night on a positive note. The combination of Tommy Layne, Burke Badenhop, Koji Uehara and Edward Mujica closed out the win.

Consistency has been an issue for Webster in his brief major league career. Friday?s performance is something to build on, though, especially given that it came against a very good pitcher on a potential playoff team.

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