Tag Archives: alfredo aceves

Red Sox Report: Sox Hope to Race to All Star Break Without More Injuries

Two closers,  the starting right fielder, the backup catcher, and the designated hitter  have spent time on the disabled list this season for the Red Sox.

Joel Hanrahan is out for the season after the team thought he could straighten out the back end of the bullpen after last year did not go so well without Jonathan Papelbon.  Andrew Bailey who was acquired last year in hopes of replacing Papelbon, went on the disabled list and then performed poorly and was removed from the closers role.  Shane Victorino who got a nice big contract this off season has been a great character guy but has had some trouble staying on the field and was limping last night after tracking down a fly ball.  David Ross who was brought in to help the pitching staff has unfortunately had two concussions and is on the 60 day disabled list.  Ross may be able to help the staff in September.  David Ortiz, the only injured player of the bunch who started the season on the disabled list, has hit the cover off the ball since his return and leads the team in RBI even after missing nearly the whole month of April. With his next hit he will have the most hits all time as a designated hitter.

Injuries are a part of baseball and it really tests the depth of an organization and the general managers job.

David Ortiz had a four hit performance last night in Seattle.

David Ortiz had a four hit performance last night in Seattle.

If two months ago you told me Brock Holt and Jose Iglesias would be the Red Sox left side of the infield I would have laughed in your face.  The bottom two in the lineup have performed well and played well defensively.  Holt who was a middle infielder did not play all that much third base until Xander Bogaers got called up to Pawtucket so he slid over to third.  Holt, the other piece acquired in the Joel Hanrahan trade had a rough April in Pawtucket but has been performing much better of late which landed him a call up.  It seems he will get the starts against the right handed pitchers for the time being with Brandon Snyder getting the starts against lefties.  Snyder, who made a costly error at third in Saturday night’s game in Anaheim, might be on the bench for a while because of his defense at third.  These two of course are playing third because opening day third baseman Will Middlebrooks was demoted to Pawtucket.  Last week he hit two home runs and had eight runs batted in one game.  The Middlebrooks problem is his consistency.  He may have two home runs in one game but then go o-4 the next three.  At bats every day is what he needs and I feel he will be brought up after the All Star Break if he can prove something this upcoming weekend.  Stephen Drew who may always be compared to his brother, which I feel is unfair, is on the disabled list as well and might not have a job when he comes back because of Iglesias performing so well.

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Red Sox Vs. Rays, The New Red Sox – Yankees Rivalry?

As Boston sports fans are still recovering from the gut wrenching loss the Bruins took last night in Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Red Sox did complete a series with the Tampa Bay Rays last night.  In a spot start Alfredo Aceves only gave up one run in six innings of work in a 2-1 Red Sox win while Andrew Bailey got the save.  I for one will admit I was wrong when I said two months ago that Aceves pitched his last game in a Red Sox uniform and he has looked good in two spot starts since starting for Pawtucket after his demotions.  Aceves has shown he can pitch well against the American League East and is battle tested so maybe now is the time he sticks around.

Matt Joyce took exception to getting hit by John Lackey on Monday.

Matt Joyce took exception to getting hit by John Lackey on Monday.

On Monday night, the first game of this series, we found out that John Lackey and Matt Joyce do not like each other. Joyce took Lackey deep and seemed to flip his bat which Lackey did not like.  Joyce in his next at bat his a long foul ball and seemed to do another bat flip and when Lackey retired Joyce, he yelled towards the Rays dugout.  Next at bat with two outs Lackey hit Joyce with a pitch and Joyce began walking towards the mound and getting into a shove match with Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  Whether Lackey hit him on purpose remains to be seen but Rays manager Joe Maddon believes in was on purpose and thought Lackey should have been tossed.  No ejections were made, the benches did clear but after Joyce was hit the game did not escalate into anything else unlike the Dodgers Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.  Anytime a player makes his way towards the mound I think he should be ejected from the game.  The game is working towards being a pitchers game with offenses hitting less home runs in this steroid tested game we watch now, so they should protect the pitchers.  At the same time when a warning is not issued for either team how could they eject a pitcher for plunking a batter?

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Red Sox Experience Interleague Play for First Time This Season

With the Astros moving to the American League this season Interleague Play is now throughout the season.  The season began with the Angels visiting the Reds.  I for one like the idea of Interleague Play throughout the season but understand it isn’t beneficial to all teams.  The Red Sox are one of few teams to have just experienced interleague games for the first time during the “rivalry week.” The Phillies have been predetermined as their rival with many of the other interleague rivals interstate like New York and California.  This week teams play two, two game series against their rival home and away.  Which means David Ortiz will pull out his mitt to play first base again for most likely one of those games.

With Monday’s 9-3 win against the Phillies Alfredo Aceves kind of stuck it to the Red Sox for keeping him in Pawtucket.  Maybe the Phillies offense is not what it once was but he had a good outing.  I thought Aceves had pitched his last game for the Sox in that terrible start against Oakland.  With the start against the Phillies maybe other teams will take notice of Aceves.  He was sent down after the game to make room for Franklin Morales, who is off the disabled list for the first time this season.

Jonathan Papelbon collected a save against his former team last night.

Jonathan Papelbon collected a save against his former team last night.

Last night Cliff Lee dominated the Sox with eight masterful innings with no walks and eight strikeouts in a 3-1 Phillies win.  Lee has always been a pitcher with great control and he showed it once again. He had 0-2 counts on eight Red Sox hitters. Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon came on for the save in the ninth and got a mix of boos and cheers.  Ortiz for one said he had a hard time looking a Papelbon on the mound.  The rumors linked to the Red Sox wanting Papelbon back to reclaim his closer role could be true.  Papelbon did say he could picture playing for the Red Sox again.  With interleague play you do get to see players you don’t usually see and former players who leave your favorite team.  In year’s past it was 18 games of interleague but this year it only adds on two extra games.

The Red Sox will also be matched up with San Diego, Arizona and Colorado at home, while playing on the road against Colorado, San Fransisco and Los Angeles. This means the Red Sox will get to face the old friends on the Dodgers from the money dump trade last season.  Maybe Josh Beckett will be pitching and Ortiz can take him deep.

Interleague play I believe is good for baseball. Twenty games is not too overwhelming where they play only two additional games to years past. The only problem I see is American League teams in a pennant race playing in National League Parks where they won’t have a designated hitter.  The Red Sox do play two games in Colorado in late September as the second to last series of the season.  With David Ortiz or Mike Napoli having to sit that may pull away from a chance to win those two games.  Maybe the Red Sox won have to be in that position if they can get out to a lead in the division but the American League East looks to be one of the toughest divisions in baseball.

PawSox Could Provide Useful Pieces For The Big League Club

Pawtucket, RI –

The Pawtucket Red Sox Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox certainly provide the entertainment of big league ball games at minor league prices.  The PawSox were 2012 International League Champions and now with many players back from that team and continuing to develop, this years team could be playing well into September as well.  Of course every minor league players focus is to make it to the big leagues and not ever have to come back to the minor leagues.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is on the disabled list due to a right bicep injury.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is on the disabled list due to a right bicep injury.

The Pawtucket Red Sox roster boasts talent like Alfredo Aceves and Jose Iglesias as well as young guns Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa.  Jackie Bradley Jr. is on the disabled list after a short sample with Pawtucket that has been good.  Often times we know the names of the hot prospects and fringe players who spend almost the same amount of time on Interstate 95, back and forth, as they do on the field.  Players who are not household names sometimes can provide a spark to a big league club with a brief stint should an injury occur.  Last year Red Sox fans became familiar with Pedro Ciriaco after he mashed against the Yankees.  Now Ciriaco is on the big league club as a utility infielder.  I’m here to tell you about the players who may not be household names.

This year the PawSox have some impressive outfielders and corner infielders.  Late spring training signing Brandon Snyder, who has major league experience with the Rangers and Orioles, has been impressive in 33 games.  Snyder has 7 home runs and 26 RBI’s to go along with a .299 average.  Snyder who plays mostly first base has gotten some time at third base since Will Middlebrooks crashed into David Ross.  Third base is the thinnest depth wise in the organization but, the team should not sleep on Snyder.  The only problem is, Snyder does not have a spot on the 40 man roster should an occasion arise where he is needed.  Putting a player on the 60 day disabled list could create a spot like Alex Hassan who has not played in a game all season.

Mark Hamilton who plays first base and the corner outfield positions also has major league experience with the Cardinals.  He signed a minor league contract during the offseason with the Sox and has looked good as well.  He was recently named the International League Player of the Week.  Last week he hit 4 home runs and had 10 RBI to lead the league.  In 31 games he is hitting .275 with 6 home runs and 27 RBI.  Hamilton could surely provide some insurance behind Mike Napoli and Mike Carp, who has looked good in a small sample size.  Daniel Nava has appeared in a few games at first base but now seems to have unseated Jonny Gomes as the everyday left fielder.

Jeremy Hazelbaker who was drafted by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2009 draft has rotated between the corner outfielder positions.  He spent the later part of last season with the PawSox after being with Double A Portland for most of the season.  Hazelbaker has also provided some pop down the order for the PawSox hitting .283 with 5 home runs and 19 RBI.  Hazelbaker is also not on the 40 man roster but could potentially be a piece they trade for some help near the trade deadline.  He seems to me like a Brandon Moss type player.  Provide some pop off the bench and maybe be a average starter for a mid market team.

The PawSox leadoff hitter last night was Justin Henry who was acquired from the Tigers by trade early this past off season.  Henry is a utility player who last night played center field but opening night played third base.  He is a valuable piece of the bench and I think he could potentially replace Ciriaco is he continues to struggle on the field.  Henry has no major league experience.  Henry this season is hitting .315 with 1 home run, 13 RBI and 6 steals.  Henry has speed and as I said can play many positions defensively and play them well.  Last year the Red Sox forced Ciriaco into the outfield and he did not really excel.

Bryce Brentz is ranked as the 7th prospect according to MLB.com.

Bryce Brentz is ranked as the 7th best Red Sox prospect according to MLB.com.

Bryce Brentz who fits in as a right fielder with a cannon of an arm is ranked as the Red Sox number 7 prospect according to MLB.com.  Brentz missed most of spring training due to a handgun accident which may have set him back with the big league club in terms of path of the majors.  He could have potentially played in more games for the big league club to prove who he is as a player playing against major league talent.  He along with Hazelbaker came up to the PawSox late last season and started this year with the club.  Brentz is hitting .275 with 6 home runs and 26 RBI.  He has a heck of a swing and hits line drives with the best of them.

Those five players could potentially become household names to Red Sox fans.  As I stated all of them are not on the 40 man roster, which makes it harder for them to be called up to Boston.  Should they continue to perform in Pawtucked the Red Sox will have a decision to make.   These players could even come up in September when the rosters expand and more injuries are almost certain.  One thing is for certain the PawSox roster is certainly talented and the players are looking for their chance to prove they can help the big league club.

Starting Pitching Paces Red Sox In 18 Win April

Buchholz and his nasty stuff has paced the Sox rotation

Buchholz and his nasty stuff has paced the Sox rotation

The Red Sox had the best record in baseball in April, going 18-8 in the first month of the season.  It was their best start since 2003 and the first time since 2009 that they had more than 11 wins in April.  The turn-around from the cumbersome starts of the last 3 years has been fueled by a resurgence of the Red Sox starting pitching, which had been rendered inept during the September collapse of 2011 and stagnated throughout all of last season.

Entering play on Saturday the Red Sox were 7th in the major league in ERA at 3.54.  Their starting staff was 5th in the majors with a 3.29 ERA.  They’ve been relatively healthy so far this season, only missing 2 starts from John Lackey from an injury that looked much worse than it ended up being in his first start of the season.  Alfredo Aceves had 1 solid start and one truly putrid one that landed him in Pawtucket and youngster Allen Webster even contributed a solid start in the night cap of a double header.  He was in line for a win before the Sox’ bullpen gave up the lead.

The Red Sox starting pitching success begins and ends with the dominance of a resurgent Clay Buchholz.  Setting aside the side show created by the hacks up in Toronto Buchholz has been, in a word, dominant.  He is 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA.  He’s struck out 47 and walked 16.  He’s thrown 44 2/3 innings so far this year, 7 innings more than Jon Lester who is #2 on the squad in innings thrown.  With Buchholz’s past durability issues there may be some worries about this workload but as long as it’s working you can’t complain.  Contrary to the conspiracy theories Buchholz has been absolutely pounding the strike zone, painting the corners and leaving opposing hitters with the bat on their shoulders.  His 37% strike looking  and 53% strikeout looking ratios are substantially higher than the major league average.  This is at odds with spitball pitchers who make a living throwing junk with late movement that hitters go out of the strike zone to chase.  Long story short, Buchholz is not cheating, he’s just pitching incredibly well.

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A’s Series Signals Adios To Alfredo

We are all lead to believe Alfredo Aceves has played his last game in a Red Sox uniform.

We are all lead to believe Alfredo Aceves has played his last game in a Red Sox uniform.

With the Oakland A’s coming to town this week after the Red Sox had an emotional weekend series with the Kansas City Royals, the Sox were looking for one more start out of Alfredo Aceves before turning it back to John Lackey hopefully this Sunday.  It could not have gone worse. A rain shortened seven inning game which the Red Sox lost 13-0 with Aceves not getting out of the 4th inning.  Aceves walked four, gave up eight runs, seven of them earned.  Obviously this performance was something no team is looking for when it comes to starting pitching.

After the game Aceves seemed to have a grip on the situation wondering why his team wasn’t hitting.  Can’t blame the weather Alfredo, Bartolo Colon pitched all seven innings and allowed no runs.  Apparently Colon messed up the mound on Aceves and had it filled in the third inning.  Comparing two performances is not hard to do when the weather is the same for both of them.  Everyone saw the conditions, you would have had to pay me to go to that game.

Aceves known for his crazy personality has had multiple run ins already this year.  In early spring training he was lobbing balls into hitters when pitchers were supposed to be giving it a full go. In the World Baseball Classic he was a part of the brawl between Team Mexico and Team Canada.  Larry Walked was quoted as saying he, “saw Satan” in Aceves’ eyes.  After the Classic, Aceves entered a game against the Rays and hit Sean Rodriguez with a pitch, almost causing another brawl.  Entering the season Aceves started as the long man in the bullpen.  John Lackey got hurt in his first start and Aceves stepped in to make three starts, never lasting more than five innings.  Is he a starter? Is he a reliever?

Right now Aceves is a minor leaguer.  After Wednesday’s 6-5 win over Oakland the Red Sox optioned him to Triple A Pawtucket.  Aceves has 72 hours to report to Pawtucket.  The likelihood of him reporting I really don’t know.  Him taking this demotion well is not something I expect.  The Red Sox are trying to get something for him by holding onto him instead of outright releasing him.  He was not good in the clubhouse as we saw.  Hopefully he doesn’t infect the Pawtucket clubhouse as well, having young players who are trying to reach the big leagues.  The team is making an example of him, who not to be like.  Manager John Farrell said the demotion is solely performance based, but I feel it is not.  See how long he can stay down there and not flip a gasket, until you can trade him to a team in need of a reliever for some value.

After a spring training full of incidents I feel Aceves made the team only because of injuries to the bullpen with Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales down.  Now that the team sent him to the minor leagues I believe Alfredo Aceves has played his last game in a Red Sox uniform.  Alex Wilson has looked good in a few appearances and the team recently called up Daniel Bard from Double A Portland.  With Bard passing Aceves on the depth chart that truly tells you something.  Alfredo it was nice knowing you.  He was one of the few players who looked to be trying in the horrible collapse of September 2011.  This years Red Sox are different though, no nonsense, no clubhouse problems.  It’s a Red Sox team I like to watch.

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