The Red Sox fell to the Yankees 4-6 Saturday afternoon courtesy of a good old fashioned Allen Webster implosion on the mound.
So let's sum up the start the Red Sox received in one quick sentence:
Allen Webster walked six batters in 2.2 innings.
That just about does it. Webster had survived his first outing last week against the Rays, but did so in a way that gave little hope he could manage another while pitching the same way. Either Webster had to change, or his results would. Sadly, it seems we've taken the latter path here. Once again, Webster did not simply throw balls, he missed the strike zone by miles pitch after pitch. Here's Brooks Baseball's strikezone plot for Webster's outing. His control was so bad it was, at times, quite literally off the charts. If that doesn't manage to go all the way past depressing and into comical, I don't know what does.
So yeah, Allen Webster walked six batters, five of them in the third inning alone, and that's most of what you need to know about this circus of a game.
Except the Red Sox kept it close. They did. In fact, Webster's disaster inning barely put them behind. The second inning had seen Yoenis Cespedes collect his first hit with the Red Sox, digging out a low Shane Greene slider for a single into left field, and then score when Mike Napoli crushed a two-run shot well over the Monster to put the Sox ahead 2-0. Christian Vazquez singled home Daniel Nava later in the inning for a third Boston run, making Webster's implosion in the next inning good for just a one-run New York lead.
But when the starter can't even get out of the third, there's a lot of work left to be done by the bullpen. Mark Teixeira homered off of Craig Breslow in the fourth, and a pair of doubles from Carlos Beltran and former Red Sox Stephen Drew made it a 6-3 lead, leaving David Ortiz' seventh inning sacrifice fly far too little, far too late.
It really is baffling to see Webster pitch the way he did today. Granted, he is not a precision pitcher to begin with, but there's not even minor leaguers will swing at the pitches he was throwing against the Yankees. In 122 innings with Pawtucket this year, Webster is walking just north of three batters per nine innings, but the pitcher we saw on the mound today and against Tampa should be walking entire lineups even in Single-A. Either he's a fundamentally different pitcher in the major leagues, or the batters of the International League are playing a cruel practical joke.
Regardless of the reason for it, though, so long as this Webster is the one who pitches on major league mounds, the Red Sox are going to be losing just about every game he starts.