Allen Webster made quite the impression on Red Sox fans last month, when he arrived in Boston to pitch the nightcap of a doubleheader and tossed six solid innings in his Major League debut.
His first start back with Triple-A Pawtucket on April 27 left a little to be desired, but the right-hander went back out Friday and showed why Sox fans had gotten so excited.
Webster earned his first win of the season, holding Durham to a run on two hits over six innings in the PawSox's 4-1 triumph over the visiting Bulls. Boston's fourth-ranked prospect struck out nine batters without issuing a walk.
The first time he took the hill after his taste of life in the bigs, Webster surrendered four earned runs on three hits and three walks in four innings against Columbus.
"I think coming back from Fenway and the outing he had out there, he might have had a little Fenway hangover," DiSarcina told the Pawtucket Times. "Sometimes when guys come down after being in that atmosphere, it takes them a while to adjust. They're human. They're going to feel a little disappointed and, sometimes, they get distracted and lose some concentration."
On Friday, Webster registered his longest outing of the year for the PawSox while matching a season low in hits allowed and posting his highest strikeout total since fanning 10 for Double-A Chattanooga last July 20.
"He was outstanding. He pitched down in the zone, he had his swing-and-miss changeup going again and his fastball was exploding and he also threw a good slider in there," DiSarcina told the newspaper. "He threw six dominant innings."
In four starts for Pawtucket this season, Webster -- MLB.com's 68th overall prospect -- is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA. He's struck out 26 and walked six over 20 innings.
Last year, the 2008 18th-round pick compiled a 3.86 ERA over 130 2/3 innings with 129 punchouts and 61 walks between Chattanooga and a brief stint with Portland after he was acquired as part of the trade that sent Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers.
Against Durham, batterymate Ryan Lavarnway homered and drove in three runs for the PawSox. Jackie Bradley Jr. singled, scored and drove in a run with a groundout before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the sixth. The Red Sox's No. 2 prospect reportedly was battling a cold.
Durham starter Alex Colome (1-4) threw 89 pitches over four-plus innings and was charged with four runs -- three earned -- on five hits and three walks. The Rays' No. 12 prospect struck out three.