Allen Webster makes Red Sox, MLB Debut

Webster

Allen Webster- BOS SP
(Associated Press)

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.

Jackie Bradley Jr. Watch: Making the Majors

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Courtesy of progress-index.com

With regard to Jackie Bradley Jr., have the Red Sox made the right decision? Based on the first game against New York, and his major league debut, fans saw a version of the same ballplayer we witnessed throughout Spring Training. He walked and made an unbelievable grab to rob New York Yankee Robinson Cano of a home run. Things seem to be going according to plan, but in watching him during these last few starts against Toronto, I cannot help but feel a tiny bit of concern.

Let’s look at the facts. He had an amazing first game, the only other Red Sox to have a start like Jackie Bradley Jr. was Jim Rice in 1974. Rice won Rookie of the Year in 1974. During Bradley Jr.’s first game he hit a single to drive Shane Victorino through for a run. He got on base, through a series of walks, and swung at good pitches. His batting average is .214 and on base percentage stands at .400 after the April 6th game against the Toronto Blue Jays. During the series against Toronto, he has been having trouble with left-handed pitchers, and struck out once today, April 6th.  Then again, the only hits the produced during Saturday’s game, were in the 1st and 9th inning by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Well, maybe things are not so bad after all. Maybe it was just Saturday’s game that left a bad taste in my mouth.

Let’s look at Bradley Jr.’s defensive side. He has been solid. My only worry as I watch him is the left field corner. He had trouble a few times with balls that get hit tight to the left field wall. Having seen him play at Spring Training, I am surprised by this because he accurately anticipates where the ball will be hit. Really, those are my only issues with his defense. With each game he gets to know the ground in left better.

Hopefully, this is a false anxiety alarm on my part. Hopefully, Bradley Jr. continues to perform and just play the game he loves, the only way he knows how, humbly (He went to celebrate his first major league start with his family at Applebees in Time Square) and well.