Ever stop to think where this year’s version of the Boston Red Sox would be without the pitching arm of Alfredo Aceves? He has been absolutely brilliant this season and it doesn’t matter where in the game he’s called on to work.
Whether it’s been a spot starter back in the spring or in long relief like it was last night, Aceves has done one thing consistently all year; pitch effectively and give his team a chance to win.
Once considered a castoff from the rival New York Yankees, Aceves has found a home in Boston and it’s safe to say he’s not going anywhere.
Prior to the start of the year, the back end of the bullpen was set. Bobby Jenks was brought in to pitch the seventh, Daniel Bard the eighth and Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. But an injury to Jenks early and often this season paved the way for Aceves to prove his worth as a trusty, reliable and dominant arm out of the bullpen.
His numbers are great. Thanks to being put into games when the decision was still up for grabs, he’s been the beneficiary of snagging a few wins. In fact his record of 10-2 ties a career high and his 2.64 ERA is at an all-time low for the Mexican native.
While he’s been steady all year, it’s been the past two months of the season that Aceves has been the most valuable. In August, Aceves threw 15.2 innings with an ERA of 1.15. Opponents hit just .167 off of him and his WHIP was a microscopic 0.87. More impressively, he struck out 17 batters and walked just 1.
In the month of September, he’s thrown 24.0 innings of work and with one game left, that number could rise. It’s the most work he’s seen in a month since May when he was called on as a starter. His numbers this month are just as impressive as last month. 1.88 ERA, 2.17 AVG, 1.17 WHIP and struck out 19 while not walking a single batter.
In game 161 of the year, Aceves came in to the game in the fourth inning and worked a brilliant 3.2 innings and only surrendered one run. He relieved starter Erik Bedard and took the game in his hands. When his team needed him to eat some innings and do so without relenquishing the lead, hHe single handedly got his team deep into the game and turned it over to Bard and Papelbon to close the door.
He has made it clear that whenever his skipper needs him, he will be ready and he will deliver. It’s fair to say he’s lived up to his word.
While the Red Sox continue in a downward spiral in the month of September and their starting pitching has looked like a single A team, many were calling for Aceves to be put into the starting rotation. Well, it’s a good thing Francona didn’t listen to the critics. Aceves been too valuable out of the pen and should the Red Sox make it to the playoffs, he will have had the biggest impact on getting there.
Tags: Adrian Beltre Adrian Gonzalez AL East AL Wild Card Baltimore Orioles Bobby Jenks Boston Red Sox Carl Crawford Clay Buchholz Daisuke Matsuzaka Daniel Bard David Ortiz Fenway Park Free Agents Hideki Okajima Injuries J.D. Drew Jacoby Ellsbury Jason Varitek Jed Lowrie John Lackey Jon Lester Jonathan Papelbon Josh Beckett Kevin Youkilis Marco Scutaro MLB New York Yankees Tampa Bay Rays Terry Francona Theo Epstein Tim Wakefield