Back in spring training, perhaps Allen Webster dreamt of a June call up. Maybe spell a starter or two in the dog days of summer.
Well June is over now, and Webster has seen his fair share of action. The rookie hurler has now started five games for the Sox, earning his first win against the San Diego Padres. A lingering shoulder injury to Clay Buchholz has warranted the starts, not necessarily Webster’s performances.
In his five starts, Webster owns a 7.88 ERA and a glaring 4.50 walk rate. I’m not bashing Webster here. Surely no one expected him to come in and dominate. In fact you should have expected him to get roughed up a bit. He’s faced the teeth of the AL central in the Tigers and the much improved Royals. He faced the Royals in his first start and pitched his best then, allowing only one walk while striking out five. His next two starts were ugly. He lasted only an inning and a third against the Twins, and the Tigers knocked him around for five in four and a third innings.
The last two starts have been better. In Toronto he was able to battle through six innings to keep the Sox in the game, eventually winning it. Then, Thursday night, he was even better. He scattered five hits and four walks through six innings to keep the Friars to two runs.
My knock on Webster is the walks. Even in the minors his walk rate is consistently high, but the strikeouts have always been there too. We’ve seen both so far in his young career. If he can command his pitches better he could be potent. His fastball lights up the gun at 98 and his slider is nasty. These two pitches are good enough to keep him around. He just needs to command them.