Allen Webster, one of the prized prospects acquired in the major trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer, made his Red Sox debut last night. In fact, it was his first professional game in the 23 year olds young career.
For all intents and purposes, it was a pretty impressive start. Webster pitched six innings, gave up five hits, struck out five, and surrendered three runs, two of them earned. John Farrell was able to get 18 outs of the righty with only having him throw 84 pitches.
There were a few things that impressed me about Webster’s debut. First of all, in the 24 batters that he faced on Sunday night, he started 17 off with first pitch strikes. Getting ahead in the count by beginning with a first pitch strike is invaluable for a pitcher. It allows you to be able to throw the ball out of the strike zone to try to get the batter to a chase a pitch he can’t hit. If you start out with a ball or two, then you are restricted to the strike zone. In comparison, Andrew Miller, the closer who eventually gave up the game winning run in the tenth inning by walking the hitter with the bases loaded, started only 2 of the 7 batters he faced with a first pitch strike.
Another positive for Webster was the way he gave up his runs. Both earned runs came in the fifth inning courtesy of two solo home runs. I have no issue with this. A young pitcher still won’t know what of his pitching arsenal will work/not work against major league line-ups. If Webster gave up a lot of hits and proved himself unable to stop an onslaught of hard hit balls that would have been much worse. However two mistakes for a six inning night is acceptable, very acceptable.
Webster was up pitching this Sunday due to the doubleheader held as a result of Friday’s postponement. He was immediately headed back to Pawtucket after the game because the Red Sox do not have a place on their roster for him yet. However, I fully expect Allen Webster to be up at Fenway again this year.
After a debut like that on Sunday, I’m sure John Farrell agrees.