The Boston Red Sox currently hold one of the best records in Major League Baseball and hold a firm lead in the tough and tight American League East. Coming off their abysmal 2012 season, it’s been a vastly different story thus far in their 2013 campaign.
Boston has had one of the best offenses in baseball this season, which is a large reason for their success through the first half of this season. However, another big factor is how improved their starting pitching has been, especially in comparison to last season.
This season, Boston’s starters have combined for a 3.73 ERA, the ninth best mark in the MLB, and less stellar 1.32 WHIP, 20th in the league. In comparison, last season the Red Sox’s starters ranked 27th in the league with a 5.19 ERA and 25th in the MLB with a 1.42 WHIP. Their starters have been much more effective and consistent this season.
However, with injuries currently sidelining Clay Buchholz, young right-hander Allen Webster has been called up several times to make starts for Boston. To put it kindly, he is not the reason that the Red Sox’s starting pitching has shown so much improvement.
Webster made his sixth start of the season on Tuesday night against the Seattle Mariners and got absolutely shelled. In 2.1 innings, he gave up six hits, two walks, two home runs and seven earned runs.
Tuesday’s fiasco of a start for Webster, which resulted in a no-decision, brings his ERA to 9.57 and his WHIP to an atrocious 1.90. Moreover, Webster now has a 4.78 walks per nine innings rate, a 2.39 home runs per nine innings rate and an awful 20.6 percent home run to fly ball rate.
In 11 starts at Triple-A this season, Webster has a 5-1 record, a 2.87 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. However, his walk rate is still at 3.71 per nine innings at Triple-A, which is normally a sign that a guy isn’t ready for the call-up to the big leagues.
Webster is a terrific young talent, but he hasn’t been able to put it together in the majors. Considering how poor he’s been with the Red Sox, it’s hard to imagine that the club will wait for Buchholz to come back before optioning Webster back down to Triple-A. Webster will need to work on his command and getting ahead in counts. He’s clearly not ready yet, but he has the stuff to succeed in the Boston with a little more work in the minors.