DUNEDIN, Fla. – With much of the fan-fare directed at the matchup between knuckleball starting pitchers Steven Wright of the Red Sox and Toronto’s R.A. Dickey Tuesday, the most notable takeaway may have been the Sox’ second pitcher – Allen Webster.
Webster, one of the pieces the Sox garnered from the Dodgers in the teams’ massive trade last August, did allow a run on two hits over two innings. But the final numbers didn’t paint the most important picture during the Red Sox’ 4-2 win over the Blue Jays.
After allowing an RBI double to Melky Cabrera, Webster went on to strike out four Blue Jays batters in a row. Make the feat more impressive was that those hitters – Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, J.P. Arencibia and Brett Lawrie – are considered to be the meat of the Jays’ batting order once the regular season rolls around.
During the run, Webster – usually known for topping out in the mid-90’s – hit 99 mph on the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium radar gun one offering after clocking in at 98 mph.
“When it started out my heart was racing, the first start of the year,” the soft-spoken Webster said. “I finally got settled down.”
Webster had no explanation for the increase in velocity, only suggesting that he had gotten stronger and remained within himself mechanically. (“I don’t feel any different. It’s about the same as last year,” he said.)
But it wasn’t hard to notice that his stuff stood out. It offered an example of why he managed to strikeout 12 batters in his nine innings with Double-A Portland last season.
And, this time, he managed the results despite dealing with a healthy dose of nerves.
“All of them,” Webster said when asked which of the Toronto hitters elicited the most anxiety.
While Webster said after the performance his goal was to begin the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, the biggest challenge he faces as camp progresses is an ability to show an improved command.
So far, so good.
“Equally impressive to the arm strength, and the action of his fastball, is that he has a secondary pitch he can go to as a put-away with his changeup. And when he gets in trouble he has the ability to slow people down with a power change that has some action to it,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He was impressive. Very impressive.”
The offensive star for the Red Sox was Jackie Bradley Jr., who continued to impress during his stint in major league camp.
“He’s running down a fly ball to the exact spot. He’s hitting good pitching, both right-handers and left-handers,” Farrell said. “Any time you have young players come into camp you’re hopeful he’s going to make a positive impression, and he certainly has gotten off to a very strong start.”
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and Peter King of SI.com join the show to talk about the latest news surrounding deflate gate.
Mike Westhoff joins the show to talk about deflate gate and the Pats innocence. Also what would have happened if he worked with Bill Belichick.
PHOENIX — After landing in Phoenix Monday afternoon, Patriots owner Robert Kraft took to the podium to make a passionate defense of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the organization in response to Deflategate.
Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out of hardware, and give their Finals predictions
Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks with MFB about Rondo being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and how this will have an effect on the Celtics rebuild process
How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...
The Red Sox have taken over Foxwoods and Red Sox Manager John Farrell sat down with Mut and Bradford to talk about the roster and how the 2015 season is looking.
Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly and 3B Pablo Sandoval sat down with Mut and Bradford. Joe Kelly had a few interesting proclamations. First he said that 95% of pitchers use some sort of grip enhancer, and then he said he was going to win the Cy Young. Pablo leaned over and promised 10 HR's, explaining to Joe that the trick is to set the bar low.
Mut and Rob are in on the Hot Stove Show this week and they're taking calls and talking about the Red Sox pitching as we are 5 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.
Pierre McGuire talks about ways hockey players skirt the rules in the NHL and the development of Dougie Hamilton.
Pierre McGuire joins Lou, Christian and Tim to discuss the resurgent Bruins, the emergence of David Pastrnak, and former Boston College stand-out Johnny Gaudreau looking to trademark the name 'Johnny Hockey.'
We get our state of the B report from NESN's Jack Edwards, right in the midst of a 4 game winning streak and hot return for David Pastrnak.
Ben Volin sits in with the guys and breaks down deflategate and the future of Darrelle Revis.
Kirk wasn't taking any crap from Woody in North Reading.
Tony Kornheiser joins Dennis and Callahan in Arizona to discuss his comment comparing Bill Belichick to Whitey Bulger.
Four-time Super Bowl Champion Bill Romanowski joined the show to share his thoughts on the greatest QB he ever played with, and his Super Bowl experiences.
Chris Mortensen, ESPN, joined the show to talk about all the reports regarding "Deflategate." He thinks that people are making too big a deal out of it. He also hints that he's skeptic of Bill Belichick's attempt to blame science on the balls dropping in pressure.
The Rogue Ball Boy Theory picks up steam...then dies. Is the Rogue Ball Boy the fastest ball deflater ever or is he simply someone with a healthy prostate who probably doesn't even wash his hands. Also, Ted Wells says the investigation will take a while. And Robert Kraft demands an apology if the investigation finds no wrong-doing by the Pats.
We dive deep into some of the shadier things the Patriots have done over the years from a personnel standpoint.
Mike Florio and Peter King talk about some of the latest news surrounding deflate gate and whether the Pats knowingly did something wrong.
Mike Westhoff joins the show and explains other cheating scandals and if he thinks the Patriots are guilty of deflate gate.
A caller named Jumbo from California raises a question that hasn't been talked about too much, what happens if it's determined that the Patriots aren't found responsible for the deflation of the footballs?
Mut and Lenny continue talking and taking calls on deflategate, as well as hearing the sound from Kirk Minihane's appearance on the O'Reilly Factor.
Mut and Lenny are talking deflategate and what impact it could have on the Patriots organization.
Chris and comedian Mike Mulloy recap the final Raw before the Rumble and preview the Rumble itself.
Would you rather watch important games in the stadium or on TV? Also we discuss our worst experiences at stadiums.
Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out some hardware, and give their Finals predictions.
Ben Volin sits in with the guys and breaks down deflategate and the future of Darrelle Revis.More from this show
Former Panthers GM and current ESPN 730 radio host in Charlotte, Marty Hurney spoke, ambiguously, about a lot of "rumors" he's heard about the New England Patriots, dating back to 2001. He did admit he believes Bill Belichick's assertions during Saturday's press conference.More from this show
We get the national perspective on Deflategate and the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl with the playmaker, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.More from this show