Closing Time: Offense backs strong outing from Allen Webster
|08.14.14 at 10:40 pm ET|
It didn’t look like Allen Webster would be long for Thursday’s game.
The righty struggled to stay in the zone in the second, issuing back-to-back walks in an eight-pitch span to begin the second. Though he allowed only one unearned run through the first two innings of his outing, he didn’t have his command. Of the first 24 pitches that were not put in play Webster threw on the evening, only nine went for strikes. Three consecutive hits in the third brought in another run.
But, whereas that sort of start has often been a formula for disaster for Webster in the past, this time, the 24-year-old proved able to adjust en route to a 9-4 win over the Astros.
Following a leadoff walk to Jon Singleton and a subsequent two-run blast off the bat of Matt Dominguez, Webster actually settled in quite nicely to finish off his outing, retiring the side in order to end the fourth and facing the minimum through the next two innings, allowing just a single.
After tossing 15 balls over the course of the first two innings, Webster threw just 14 through his remaining four frames and ended up throwing 66 percent of his pitches for strikes on the evening. That efficiency permitted him, for the first time in his big league career, to deliver a second straight quality start, as Webster logged six innings in which he allowed three earned runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks while striking out a pair.
Eventually, Webster got all the run support he would need. Though the Red Sox offense was unable to generate much offense through the first five innings, they put a seven-spot on the board in the sixth with contributions from just about everyone in the lineup. With the exception of Yoenis Cespedes, every member of the starting nine reached either by hit or walk, while seven of the nine reached base at least once during the Red Sox‘ rally in the sixth.
The Red Sox have now won four straight games.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
— Daniel Nava got it done both offensively and defensively on Thursday night. Nava went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a walk. And while Jackie Bradley Jr. and Cespedes get all the attention for their strong arms in the outfield, Nava made a great throw to nab Jake Marisnick trying to score from third on a sacrifice fly, completing a double play.
— Dustin Pedroia was a huge part of the Red Sox comeback in the sixth, collecting two hits (including a ground-rule double) as part of a 3-for-5 day in which he scored twice and drove in two.
— Will Middlebrooks tied the game at four with a one-out, bases-loaded single off of starter Scott Feldman. Middlebrooks, who came into the game hitting a meager .139/.244/.250 against right-handers this season, hadn’t gotten a hit off of a righty with runners in scoring position since back on May 15, and has just three hits of the kind this season.
— It’s no secret that Jackie Bradley Jr. has been struggling at the plate, but for the second night in a row, the outfielder collected a hit, singling on a 95 mile per hour fastball from hard-throwing reliever Mike Foltynewicz. He also did something that he hadn’t done over his last 17 games: draw a walk. It’d been almost 50 plate appearances since Bradley worked a free pass. That walk came with the bases loaded with Bradley earning a RBI, his first since July 21.
— Christian Vazquez broke an 0-for-13 drought with a multi-hit night, going 2-for-3 with a couple of singles and a RBI.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
— Though Cespedes has been an RBI machine as of late, he didn’t contribute much on Thursday night. The outfielder went 0-for-5 on the evening, stranding five runners on base.
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