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Praise for Webster despite some ugly numbers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  June 23, 2013 12:00 AM

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DETROIT — Allen Webster is 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA after three major league starts. He has allowed 16 runs (15 earned) on 19 hits and six walks over 12 innings. He has allowed five home runs.

In his last two starts, Webster gave up four runs in the first inning.

That all sounds pretty grim and it is. The Sox gave Webster a 2-0 lead Saturday night and he gave it back and then some in a span of five batters as Victor Martinez belted a grand slam. He had to be better than that.

But here's what colleague Nick Cafardo learned when he went to the Tigers clubhouse after the game.

Miguel Cabrera said Webster's changep was a “nasty pitch."

“Electric stuff,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

Martinez, the former Red Sox catcher, believes Webster has a bright future.

“That kid has great stuff. I watched the video on him. Facing him you see a lot of movement on the fastball and he's got a great changeup,” he said. “That kid is going to be a very good pitcher in the major leagues.”

Why do they think that? Webster had 21 swing-and-misses with his pitches Saturday night, which is an extraordinary number. To put that in some sort of perspective, Max Scherzer is 11-0 and he hasn't done that this season. Clay Buchholz's best was 17.

Now, certainly, a swing-and-miss isn't much good if the next pitch sails over the fence. But it speaks to the potential Wilson has.

“He’s got all the pitches and raw stuff you’re going to look for in a young pitcher. It’s a matter of consistency. It’s a matter of repetition, particularly at this level,” John Farrell said.

With Buchholz still not ready to come off the disabled list, the Red Sox will need a starter for Saturday’s game against Toronto at Fenway Park. Farrell was non-committal about the idea of Webster staying in the rotation, saying the Red Sox had some decisions to make.

Rubby De La Rosa may be a better choice. The 24-year-old threw six shutout innings for Triple A Pawtucket at Toledo on Saturday night, allowing one hit. He struck out seven without a walk. Or the Sox could give the newly reliable Alfredo Aceves another shot.

But Webster will be back. A young pitcher who can impress somebody like Cabrera is worth keeping an eye on.

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