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Closing Time: Allen Webster, Red Sox get mauled by Tigers

06.22.13 at 10:20 pm ET

Allen Webster has outrageous stuff — as good as anyone on the Red Sox pitching staff. Of the young right-hander’s 82 pitches, 20 resulted in swings and misses — 14 changeups, four fastball, one curveball and one slider — underscoring an arsenal with the potential to dominate.

But for now, while Webster has impressive raw materials, it’s unclear how those might translate into games. He had one very impressive big league outing in April (six innings, two runs), an awful follow-up against the Twins in May (1 2/3 innings, eight earned runs) and something in between against the Tigers on Saturday. Against one of the top lineups in all of baseball, Webster had his moments, as evidenced by those 20 swings and misses as well as five strikeouts against a respectable yield of two walks. But when he could not get his two-seam fastball to fall to the bottom of the strike zone (or below), he got hammered for eight hits, most notably a Victor Martinez grand slam in the first inning.

The final yield of five runs in 4 1/3 innings gave the Sox little hope of victory, but it was not disastrous. Webster demonstrated clearly that he has big league-caliber stuff. For now, his task remains to refine it to the point where his execution will be consistent enough to allow the results to match the potential. He is not there yet, as became evident in the Sox’ 10-3 thrashing at the hands of the Tigers.


Franklin Morales, in the game in relief of Webster, got hit hard for four runs on five hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings, snapping a string of three straight scoreless outings (4 1/3 innings). He’s walked nine batters in 12 1/3 innings this season. When he was lifted, manager John Farrell was accompanied by a team trainer, raising questions about Morales’ health.

— After he dunked a single down the right field line, Jose Iglesias tripped and sprawled past second base while attempting to extend the hit to a double (an attempt that likely would have been successful). Given his outrageous performance (a .438 average), the Sox faced a potentially alarming development in the form of Iglesias grimacing in apparent discomfort while on the bases and in the field after his stumble — though it’s worth noting that he’d also appeared to deal with some discomfort while running in other recent contests. Still, Iglesias had yet another multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 for his 16th multi-hit game in 32 contests this year.

Daniel Nava went 1-for-4 with a ninth-inning single, but in his last seven games, he’s now 2-for-25 (.080). While Nava grimaced in discomfort after a swing and miss and required extra tape on his thumb on Friday night, manager John Farrell told reporters prior to Saturday’s game that the issue is not a major one.

“He’s got a thumb issue every now and then on his swing,” Farrell said in his pregame media session. “He’ll feel a little bit of soreness or a sensation in there. But what people were referring to last night, there was a swing that looked a little different, and he bent over at the plate. He was bending over to let the ball go back from the catcher to the pitcher. But he felt a little something. He does tape it. But it’s not something that makes a huge impact on the execution of the swing or certainly keeps him out of the lineup.”

Still, Farrell acknowledged that Nava’s diminished performance points to the need to give Nava some rest.

“This is probably the most consecutive games played at this level for quite a while, and we’re mindful of that,” the manager told reporters. “We have to pick spots when needed. That’s what’s been the beauty of this bench. We’ve been able to rotate guys in and out and get some regular work in a number of different spots,. That might be something that’s coming as well with Daniel.”


David Ortiz continued to live up to his end of the bargain as the Sox’ foremost power-hitting threat. He clubbed a solo homer in the first, his 16th of the year and seventh in June, a month in which his power has allowed him to forge a .990 OPS despite a .268 average. Ortiz has three homers in 13 career at-bats against Tigers starter Max Scherzer.

Jacoby Ellsbury had his fifth multi-hit game in seven contests, going 2-for-4 with a double.

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