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