Boston Red Sox

Aceves holding down the fort in long relief

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Aceves holding down the fort in long relief

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON With both starting pitchers the Royals' Danny Duffy and the Red Sox' Andrew Miller getting pounded Tuesday night through just 3 23 innings, and with both bullpens pretty well beaten up after Mondays 14-inning game, the Sox had one advantage in their bullpen:

Right-hander Alfredo Aceves.

After Miller was driven from the game with two outs in the fourth inning, and the Sox trailing by two runs, Aceves entered and shut down the Royals for the next 3 13 innings, allowing just three hits while striking out three. That performance earned himself the win, improving to 6-1, and lowering his ERA to 3.10.

It was just what the Sox needed, as their offense broke open for eight runs over the next six innings, giving them a 13-9 win over the Royals.

We got in our bullpen a lot Monday night, said manager Terry Francona. And we had everybody available Tuesday. But if Aceves doesnt do what he does, youre asking a lot. And the ability to not just get people out but to go multiple innings is so important. Its been so valuable to us.

Working between the bullpen and making four starts this season, Aceves improves to 20-2 in his career, the first pitcher to win 20 of his first 22 career decisions since St. Louis Howie Krist did it from 1937-1942, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Aceves has won his last 15 relief decisions since June 7, 2009, the longest relief win streak in the majors since Phil Regan won 15 straight decisions with the Dodgers from May 17, 1966 through May 10, 1967.

I knew coming in to this after Monday night it was my job to pitch deep into the game and didnt do a good job of that tonight, Miller said. Fortunately, Aceves was able to come in and pick up a lot of slack.

Aceves has been picking up a lot of slack this season. Just one of his wins this season has come while he has started. The other five he earned in relief. His ability to not only shut down opponents, but go multiple innings has been extremely beneficial. He has thrown a high of six innings while starting and 4 23 out of the bullpen.

Aceves did one heck of a job, catcher Jason Varitek said of the right-handers performance against the Royals.

Aceves gave us a chance to get our offense going, settle everything down. And then everybody was a little worn from Monday night. It doesnt matter whos coming in . . . but Aceves set that tone. He did an awesome job.

Hes got a good repertoire of pitches, and thats a good thing to have on your team.
With Miller leaving early, Aceves performance minimized what could have been another tough night on the bullpen, with little carry-over effect for Wednesday.

Its OK, Francona said. Because what Aceves did, nobodys gotten overworked. We hung on and won tonight. If you start matching up early, though, youre certainly running the risk of getting in trouble. And we dont want to do that.

Julian Tavarez held a similar role in the Sox pen a few years ago with one exception.

Julian Tavarez did it, Francona said. He kind of took the ball, maybe more of a mop-up type, where Aceves is pitching in games where were winning and holding on . . . Its a pretty unique role.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Pomeranz, Price, Pedroia make health progress

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Pomeranz, Price, Pedroia make health progress

CLEVELAND — There was positive news for a trio of injured Red Sox players on Monday, including Wednesday’s scheduled starter, Drew Pomeranz. 

The lefty threw a side session at Progressive Field before the Red Sox began a four-game series with the Indians and came out of it feeling well. He’s on track to make his next start after his last one was cut short because of lower back spasms.

Back in Boston, meanwhile, Dustin Pedroia and David Price both took steps forward. Price threw from flat ground out to about 60 feet, manager John Farrell said, while Pedroia did agility drills.

“He went through some functional work, some change of direction, some lateral work,” Farrell said of Pedroia. “He did run on the altered-G treadmill which reduces some of the normal body weight. So it was a productive day for him.”

Mitch Moreland was initially in Monday’s lineup but was scratched for Brock Holt. Moreland went through concussion testing and passed after an awkward play at first base in the eighth inning yesterday, when Brock Holt made an excellent diving play in the hole. Holt threw on to Moreland at first base and Moreland stretched awkwardly into the base line of an oncoming Brett Gardner. 

“He was a little bit out of position there on the collision with Gardner,” Farrell said. “He took a forearm to the back, to the neck, the back of the head. He went through the whole concussion protocol. He passed that. He’s sore. Was able to get on a treadmill and run for 10-12 minutes. He passed all those tests but felt like with the recommendations from our medical staff we would give him a day to get over it. 

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MLB umpires end protest, will meet with Manfred

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MLB umpires end protest, will meet with Manfred

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball umpires have ended their protest of what they called "abusive player behavior" after Commissioner Rob Manfred offered to meet with their union's governing board.

Most umpires wore white wristbands during Saturday's games after Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez. Kinsler said Tuesday that Hernandez was a bad umpire and "just needs to go away."

The World Umpires Association announced Sunday in a series of tweets that Manfred had proposed a meeting to discuss its concerns.

"To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wrist bands pending the requested meeting," the organization posted on Twitter.

Kinsler was ejected by Hernandez last Monday in Texas after being called out on strikes. The next day, Kinsler sharply criticized Hernandez, saying the umpire was "messing" with games "blatantly."

"No, I'm surprised at how bad an umpire he is. ... I don't know how, for as many years he's been in the league, that he can be that bad. He needs to re-evaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line," Kinsler said.

Kinsler was fined, but the umpires' union felt he should have been suspended.

"The Office of the Commissioner's lenient treatment to abusive player behavior sends the wrong message to players and managers. It's `open season' on umpires, and that's bad for the game," the WUA said in a release on Saturday.