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

Pomeranz gives up three runs in Red Sox loss to Blue Jays

Pomeranz gives up three runs in Red Sox loss to Blue Jays

Starter Drew Pomeranz gives up three runs on five hits in four innings of work in the Red Sox' 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday.

Lou Merloni breaks down Pomeranz's start and explains why he should be in the starting rotation to begin the season.

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

The dearth of homegrown starting pitching for the Red Sox is talked about almost as much as every Tom Brady post on Instagram.

Red Sox fans may take some solace in knowing their team isn’t the only one dealing with this problem.

In an interview with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman didn’t talk about his team’s pitching problems in context of the Red Sox. But the explanation the longtime Yanks boss offered should sound familiar. 

In the biggest of markets, time to develop properly is scarce.

“Yeah. It's a fact,” Cashman said when asked if criticism of their pitching development was fair. “I think part of the process has been certainly where we draft. Because we've had a lot of success, we've not been allowed to tank and go off the board and therefore get access to some of the high-end stuff that plays out to be impactful. Part of it is we can't get out of our own way because we don't have the patience to let guys finish off their development, because if you possess some unique ability that stands out above everybody else -- whether it was Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, now [Luis] Severino and before that [Bryan] Mitchell and Shane Greene -- we're pulling them up before their development is finished.

“Teams like Tampa Bay, for instance, they're going to wait until they have their four pitches down and their innings limits are all exceeded at the minor-league level; they're very disciplined in that approach as they finish off their starters. For us, if I'm looking at my owner and he says, ‘What's our best team we can take north?’ 

“Well, ‘We could take this guy; he's not necessarily 100 percent finished off, but we can stick him in our 'pen. He can be in the back end of our rotation, because he's better than some of the guys we already have,’ and then you cut corners, so I think that probably plays a role in it.”

Not everything is circumstantial, though -- or a deflection. 

“And sometimes we don't make the right decisions, either, when we're making draft selections and signings and stuff like that,” Cashman continued. “On top of it all, playing in New York is a lot different than playing anywhere else.”

We’ve heard that last part about Boston too, here and there.

Cashman was complimentary of his current Sox counterpart, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, whose team Cashman has compared to the Golden State Warriors.

On his feelings when he first heard the Sox were getting Chris Sale:

“When that trade was consummated, that was the first thing I thought about, which was, 'Wow, look at what they've done,' ” Cashman said. “I know how it's going to play out for them. Listen, Steve Kerr does a great job managing that team -- oh, I mean John Farrell. It's a lot of talent and with talent comes pressure to perform. I think Dave Dombrowski has done everything he possibly can to provide that city with a world championship team. They've got 162 games to show it.”