EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 22, 2013

Webster looks strong in major league debut

By Christopher Smith
csmith@eagletribune.com

---- — BOSTON — Terry Doyle in his sixth year playing minor league ball so he has seen plenty of talented pitchers during the early stages of their careers.

The Salem High grad and Pawtucket Red Sox pitcher especially was impressed by current Houston Astros starter Brad Peacock who he saw in High-A and current White Sox starter Chris Sale, who he was teammates with for a brief time in 2010 after Sale was drafted 13th overall that June.

And then there is 23-year-old Allen Webster, who Doyle has watched start twice with the PawSox this year.

“Webby, he’s got the same stuff,” Doyle said. “He’s got the plus fastball. He locates it well and he’s got a real, real good change-up, which is going to be a huge pitch for him.”

Webster, a right-hander, was promoted to Boston yesterday to make his major league debut in the second game of a day-night doubleheader against the Royals.

The 6-2, 190-pounder pitched well, going 6.0 innings and allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits and one walk while striking out five batters.

But he did not factor in the decision and the Red Sox lost 5-4 in 10 innings in the second game after dropping the first game 4-2 to the Royals here at Fenway Park.

Webster entered spring training ranked by Baseball America as the 49th best prospect in all of baseball. He turned heads more so during spring training, reaching 98 mph on the radar and featuring a plus change-up and a fastball with tremendous sink. Many began to call him a potential ace.

“His sinker and his change-up pretty much have the same movement,” Doyle said. “It’s just the matter of 10 mph slower. And when you (as a hitter) have to get up to that 94, 95, 96 mph fastball and then he can come out with an 85, 86, 87 mph change-up, the timing gets real disruptive for the hitter.”

Webster hit 97 mph on the radar gun last night. He was mixing in a change-up in the mid-80s with a slider around 86.

“As much as he’s a power guy, he’s not a power guy,” Doyle said. “He doesn’t pitch like one. He pitches like a finesse guy. He locates, he mixes up speeds real well for a guy who throws as hard as he does. You don’t really expect that.”

Odds and ends

Shane Victorino (tightness lower back) did not play in either game yesterday and is day to day. ... David Ortiz went 3 for 4 with a double and RBI in Game 1 before sitting out the second game. He has a 14-game hitting streak dating back to last year. ... Daniel Nava stroked two hits in the first game and one in the second game... Ryan Dempster went 7.0 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks while striking out eight in the first game. He is averaging 12.38 strikeouts per nine innings through four games. ... Lefty reliever Andrew Miller took the loss in Game 2. He pitched the 10th and gave up two hits and two walks, including walking in the winning run with the bases loaded.

Want More Baseball? Log onto to Eagle-Tribune baseball writer Christopher Smith's Smitty on Baseball blog found on The Eagle-Tribune website for a photo gallery from yesterday's games as well as daily baseball notes and what Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes has to say about former Red Sox Josh Reddick's beard.