Brandon Workman shows consistency on mound with another strong outing

June 16, 2014 - 2:14 am

There's no telling where Brandon Workman will be or what role he'll be filling when Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront return from injury for the Red Sox, but he's certainly making a case to remain in the big league starting rotation. Workman was strong for the second straight outing on Sunday, allowing two runs on five hits over six-plus innings for a no-decision in the Red Sox' 3-2 loss to the Indians on Sunday. The right-hander had two walks and seven strikeouts and pitched into the sixth inning for the second time in as many starts. "I thought he was very good," manager John Farrell said. "Swing and miss at three pitches, three different types of pitches: fastball, breaking ball and his cutter. He hasn'€™t gone into the seventh inning but a couple of times this year, but still I thought he was strong. He got a number of key strikeouts with men in scoring position. He threw the ball very good. He more than did his job today." Workman stayed ahead in counts for most of the game, giving him the ability to use an array of pitches, including a slider that catcher A.J. Pierzynski lauded, and keep hitters uncertain at the plate. "It definitely helps out a lot to be able to, early in counts, throw a curveball in there or something like that," Workman said. "Throw a strike, keep guys off balance, keep them off of my fastball a little bit. Makes my fastball a little more effective." Pierzynski said that Workman's ability to mix pitches has contributed to his effectiveness as of late. He also praised Workman's aggressiveness on the mound, saying, "I know one thing about Work, he'€™s going to throw the ball and he'€™s going to throw it over the plate. He'€™s not afraid." Workman's only major mistakes came in the first and seventh inning. He gave up a solo home run to Michael Brantley in the first on a 2-2 cutter inside, which Workman said "wasn't a bad pitch," and walked David Murphy and surrendered a single to Carlos Santana before being pulled in favor of Burke Badenhop. Yan Gomes hit a sacrifice fly off Badenhop to score Murphy from third for Cleveland's second run of the game, which was charged to Workman. The 25-year-old retired eight straight hitters after the Brantley homer, and he allowed just three hits between the first and seventh innings. Workman left five Indians baserunners stranded for the game. "I felt pretty good. I thought I threw the ball pretty well," Workman said. "Leadoff walk in the seventh hurt me a little bit, but overall I thought I threw it pretty well." Since joining the rotation May 25, Workman has proven that he can be a reliable arm for the Sox for the long haul. He has a 3.21 ERA in five starts this year, having pitched at least five innings without allowing more than three runs in any of them, including a shutout over 6 2/3 innings in arguably his best start of the season June 10 in Baltimore. "It'€™s something that we quickly came to understand of Brandon a year ago," Farrell said. "Even in the very early stages of his career he was a consistent strike-thrower. He kept the tempo and the pace of the game and the emotion of the game under control, and he continued to do it whether it was late-postseason coming out of the bullpen or a starter'€™s role." But whether or not Workman will continue to get that opportunity down the road remains uncertain. Aside from Workman waiting on the results of his appeal to Major League Baseball regarding his six-game suspension, Farrell wouldn't reveal what his plans for the rotation are once Buchholz and Doubront come back, saying, "We still have some time before those guys come back. We'€™re not here to make a decision yet. He is certainly doing everything he possibly can to not only make a strong statement, but put us in a position to win each time he'€™s walked to the mound." Workman said he isn't concerned about security in the rotation yet, either. "On my day, just trying to throw the ball as well as I can, put myself in a good position," he said. "What happens from there is out of my hands."