The Red Sox will conclude their series with the Rays on Thursday night, as Allen Webster gets the ball against Jeremy Hellickson at Fenway Park.
Trying to get a rotation spot next season, Webster (4-3, 5.54 ERA) pitched well vs. the Orioles last Friday night at Camden Yards. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowed seven hits but just one run in the no decision. The lone Orioles run off Webster came on a Nelson Cruz RBI infield single. Webster said after the game that he wished he had better command of his offspeed pitches early in the contest.
“I wasn’t really locating my offspeed stuff as well as I would have liked,” Webster said. “But later in the game, I started finding it, and me and [catcher Christian Vazquez] just kept pounding the zone.”
The outing in Baltimore was the third quality start of September for Webster. After a 7.28 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in August, the right-hander has rebounded over the final month with a 1-0 record and a 3.18 ERA in three starts. In each outing this month, he’s pitched at least five innings, recorded at least one strikeout and not allowed more than three runs.
The three September starts follow one at the end of August in which the Rays roughed up Webster for six runs on five hits. He lost a little bit of control in that one, as he also hit two batters. James Loney‘s double in the second started a three-run rally, which carried Tampa Bay to victory.
Webster’s other start against the Rays this year came back in July during his first outing of 2015. He allowed two runs and three hits over 5 2/3 innings to earn the win. Both runs scored in the third inning on a Desmond Jennings double. Other than that, Webster limited the damage.
Hellickson (1-4, 3.96 ERA) was sidelined for the early part of the year because of offseason arthroscopic elbow surgery. He did not make his first start in the majors until early July, and did not pitch more than five innings in a start until Aug. 6 against the A’s.
He did have a successful August, but has not thrown the ball well in September. In four starts, he’s pitched just 19 innings, allowing 13 runs. Against the White Sox last Friday, he was charged for four runs in 4 1/3 innings. His best start of the month came on Sept. 13 when he struck out eight and allowed four runs over six innings against the Blue Jays.
Hellickson last pitched against the Red Sox last September at Tropicana Field. He earned the win after he struck out seven and limited the damage to just three runs in 5 1/3 frames.
Not many Red Sox hitters have had much success against Hellickson, but David Ortiz has four home runs and seven RBIs against him in 33 plate appearances. Daniel Nava is the only other hitter with a home run against Hellickson.
Rays vs. Webster (RHP)
Matt Joyce (6 career plate appearances): .000 average/.167 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk 3 strikeouts
Evan Longoria (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 strikeout
Ben Zobrist (6): .250/.500/.250, 2 RBIs, 2 walks
Logan Forsythe (5): .333/.600/.333, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Kevin Kiermaier (4): .500/.750/.500, 1 walk
James Loney (4): .250/.250/.500, 1 double, 1 RBI
Desmond Jennings (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout
Wil Myers (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts
Yunel Escobar and Curt Casali have both walked once in two plate appearances. Nick Franklin, Brandon Guyer and Ryan Hanigan each have a hit in two appearances against the right-hander.
Red Sox vs. Hellickson (RHP)
David Ortiz (33): .385/.515/.885, 4 home runs, 7 RBIs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 7 walks, 1 strikeout
Daniel Nava (16): .133/.188/.133, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Mike Napoli (14): .077/.143/.077, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Will Middlebrooks (12): .083/.083/.083, 8 strikeouts
Jackie Bradley (6): .167/.167/.167, 2 strikeouts
Jemile Weeks (6): .000/.000/.000
Yoenis Cespedes (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Xander Bogaerts (4): .250/.250/.250, 3 strikeouts
Brock Holt (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk
Ryan Lavarnway has a walk in two plate appearances against the right-hander and Christian Vazquez is 0-for-2.