Putting the save in Aceves


Putting the save in Aceves

He may be the quirkiest, most confusing and mentally mysterious Red Sox reliever since Julian Tavarez, but in this, his first (and likely only) season as closer, Alfredo Aceves continues to get the job done.

Since blowing his first save opportunity on April 9 and inciting a media firestorm that led Tony Massarotti to poop his pants on terrestrial radio (I think) Aceves has saved 11 games in 12 opportunities. Of course, that one blown save was the legendarily miserable performance against the Yankees on April 21. But since that day, Aceves has been better than ever, with 9 saves in 15 appearances. Over that time, including this afternoon, he's also given the Sox more than one inning on five occasions, and has pitched 18.1 innings while compiling a 0.98 ERA.

And here's something else: One of the major criticisms of the decision to name Aceves the closer was that he's not a strikeout pitcher. Well, with his one K this afternoon, Aceves in now tied for first among AL closers with 23 strikeouts. How about that?

And how about this: Alfredo Aceves has been one of the undisputed heroes of this 2012 season. With Andrew Bailey's last-minute injury, the late revelation that Mark Melancon's better suited for Little League, and the resistance to take Daniel Bard out of the rotation, the Sox were on the verge of absolute disaster in that bullpen.

But Crazy Alfredo has steadied the ship, and in the process, erased one of the most explosive and controversial talking points from early in this Red Sox season.

Tony Mazz's underwear couldn't be more thankful.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

NLCS: Cubs beat Dodgers 8-4, head home with 3-2 series lead


NLCS: Cubs beat Dodgers 8-4, head home with 3-2 series lead

LOS ANGELES - Jon Lester pitched seven sharp innings, Addison Russell hit a tiebreaking homer and the Chicago Cubs moved one win from their first World Series trip in 71 years by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 on Thursday.

The Cubs grabbed a 3-2 lead in the NL Championship Series and will have two chances to wrap up that elusive pennant back home at Wrigley Field.

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