Taking a look at a potential Red Sox six-man rotation in September

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Aug 24, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Allen Webster (64) reacts as he walks off the mound after being relieved during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Webster is quickly finding himself in the doghouse once occupied by Jackie Bradley. Fortunately Xander Bogaerts is still reprising the role of most disappointing Red Sox prospect in 2014 in what is rapidly becoming a recurring nightmare for the Player Development group at Fenway. I am of the opinion that it is still to early to write off Webster, but there is legitimate cause for concern if he keeps losing his cool on the mound. Last night’s vengeful pounding by the Rays underscored Webster’s tendency to lose his focus far too easily.

The 24-year old right hander got rocked on the mound and looked to be on the verge of mental collapse by the time Farrell mercifully came to relieve him in the fifth inning. The heat of competition can resemble hellfire in the merciless AL East, and Webster needs to be able to handle all of the stress that comes with playing in these rivalry-fueled matchups. The Logan Forsythe-Dustin Pedroia incident only served to exacerbate Webster’s rattling night but ultimately these incidents are not going to become infrequent occurrences. Voted to have the best sinker ball in the International League, it won’t matter how good Webster’s stuff is if he can’t keep his head in the game.

With all of this in mind, I still have faith in Webster’s talent. We have seen, time and again, pitchers especially taking time to settle in at the Major League level. Among the ERA leaders for 2014, only two players in the top 10 carried a sub 4.00 ERA out of their first full season (Chris Sale and Adam Wainwright), and this list includes Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Cole Hamels and our old friend Lester. Another interesting name on the list is Corey Kluber, who has become this year’s shining example of what a breakout season for a pitcher can look like. While I expect the Red Sox to be players on the market this winter for names like Sale, Lester and Hamels, it would surprise and disappoint me if Allen Webster doesn’t find himself in the back end of the 2015 rotation.