Allen Webster, one of the most ballyhooed pitchers in Triple A, will get his first major league start for the Red Sox in Sunday’s second game of a doubleheader.
Webster, 23, who sports a 0.90 ERA in two starts at Pawtucket, with 12 strikeouts over 10 innings, has drawn rave reviews for his pitching in both spring training and to start the season.
The Sox resisted calling him up, wanting him to at least get his feet wet at Triple A. But after two starts it’s obvious, as Boston manager John Farrell said, “He’s a good looking young pitcher, he’s rested and ready.”
According to scouts, Webster has been throwing 97-99 miles per hour, overwhelming Triple A hitters. If he has one flaw, according to one scout, it is that he still hasn’t learned to waste a pitch. He sometimes throws his changeup for strikes or makes it “too good,” according to one American League scout.
Webster was acquired from the Dodgers along with Rubby De La Rosa in the Aug. 25 deal that sent Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez to Los Angeles.
The Sox will start veteran Ryan Dempster in the day game.
Shane Victorino had to come out of Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Royals with back spasms.
“On the one play when he laid down the bunt [in the sixth inning, to advance Jacoby Ellsbury to second], he came out of the box and twisted a little awkwardly and started to tighten up,” said Farrell.
“So for precautionary reasons we got him out of there. We’ll evaluate him in the morning and determine tomorrow whether he can play.”
Clay Buchholz, who went eight innings and allowed two runs and struck out six, now leads the American League with four wins. He has a 0.90 ERA in four starts.
Buchholz is the first Red Sox pitcher to win his first four starts since Josh Beckett in 2008.
Buchholz allowed several leadoff hits, but he minimized the damage.
“I think it goes back to his emotional control and ability to remain focused mentally and not get too far ahead of himself,” Farrell said. “It speaks of his level of maturity [as a] pitcher.”
“I feel good,” Buchholz said. “Obviously, when the numbers are good, that makes you feel a little bit better. But I feel like I’ve done the work in between my starts to prepare for the next start and everything’s going really well now. You’ve got the defensive plays that are made behind you. Timely hitting is key and having a steady defense behind you, that makes any pitcher feel good.”
Buchholz continued the streak of Sox starters allowing three runs or fewer in all 16 games. According to Elias, that matches the 1981 A’s and 1978 A’s as the longest such streak in American League history.
Hanrahan update Farrell said Joel Hanrahan, currently on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury, will continue with his throwing program. Hanrahan has felt a twinge in the hamstring, so the Sox are backing off. “Hopefully in the next 2-3 days he would feel well enough to get back on the mound,” Farrell said . . . The manager commented on Jackie Bradley Jr., who went back to Pawtucket to make room for the David Ortiz activation. “It should be a very good learning experience,” Farrell said. “The understanding of the information that’s out there and how quickly it circulates that he can become pitched to, but at the same time to know that he’s a very important part of our organization as a player. We fully expect and have the utmost confidence he’s going to be a very good everyday player in time.” . . . Will Middlebrooks had been 2 for 30 since his dramatic three-homer day in Toronto April 7, but he did get a hit in four at-bats. He’s now hitting .186 . . . Dustin Pedroia had two walks, and has reached base in an all 16 games this season . . . Ortiz went 2 for 4 in his 2013 debut after Achilles’ issues. With a doubleheader Sunday, look for Ortiz to play in only one of the two games. Ortiz had some good at-bats against James Shields and knocked in run to tie it at 1-1. “It was great to be back in that situation,” Ortiz said. “We wanted to put on a good show for the people here. That [three-run homer] was a big hit by [Daniel] Nava. It brought us back and were able to have a good reaction.”