Aceves holding down the fort in long relief


Aceves holding down the fort in long relief

By Maureen Mullen 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.

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic


Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic


Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.