Ortiz calls for Aceves in the starting role

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Ortiz calls for Aceves in the starting role

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen

BOSTON -- David Ortiz surely meant no disrespect to Kyle Weiland, but he thought there might have been a better choice for a starting pitcher in the first game of Monday's doubleheader.

Alfredo Aceves, who has been so valuable because of his versatility this season, pitched three scoreless innings in Monday afternoon's 6-5 loss to the Orioles. He held the Os in check while the Sox fought back to within one run. If it was up to Ortiz, Aceves, who has made four starts this season, would have taken the mound in the first inning, not the seventh.

The way things are going he should be starting, said Ortiz. Simple as that. Give it a shot.

In his four starts, spanning 21 innings, Aceves has a record of 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA. He has given up 14 runs (12 earned) on 20 hits and 13 walks, with 13 strikeouts. He has not given up a home run, holding opponents to a .250 average.

But he has not started since June 21, against the Padres. His bullpen role became too valuable.

Hes got good stuff, man, Ortiz said. You see how easy he gets hitters out. I think at one point, he might be a starter. I dont know. It all depends on what our front office decides. Hes got good stuff, man. And we definitely need a guy who can come in and give us six or seven good innings. It seems like hes capable of doing it. Well see.

Although manager Terry Francona has shown little inclination to put Aceves in the rotation, there is potentially still time to see what Aceves could do in that role. Certainly, he can't do much worse than most of the other starting pitching performances the Sox have had in September.

In 18 games this month, entering Mondays night game, starting pitchers have gone just 86 innings, averaging less than five innings a game.They have given up 68 runs (61 earned) on 100 hits and 43 walks with 75 strikeouts and 13 home runs. The starters have posted a combined 6.38 ERA while pitching just three quality starts.

Aceves, meanwhile, lowered his ERA to 2.74 with his performance Monday afternoon.

"We still have like, what, right games left?" Ortiz said. "Its not going to be tomorrow. He threw 53 pitches, 32 for strikes today. But, hes got Jon Lester stuff. And weve been seeing that for a while, right?"

While Aceves has proven his value to the pitching staff, especially taking long innings in relief, what the Sox desperately need now is a starting pitcher who can give the team a quality outing -- and preferably a win.

Perhaps Aceves is that pitcher.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20170329/with-josh-rutledge-and-mitch-moreland-ailing-first-base-depth-compromised-for-red-sox)

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.