Notes: Aceves strong in second start

191542.jpg

Notes: Aceves strong in second start

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT Alfredo Aceves had one reason to join the Red Sox, which he did as a free agent in February.

They have a huge, huge, huge opportunity to win the World Series, he said after Thursdays game in Detroit.

The Red Sox had one main reason to sign him.

We got him as a depth starter, said manager Terry Francona. He can certainly pitch out of the bullpen because he can pitch. But this was the main reason he was signed.

Whether or not the Sox win the World Series this year remains to be seen. But Aceves, in his last two outings, has given them what they were looking for: A chance to win when he pitches.

In his second start since Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey went on the disabled list, Aceves went six innings, giving up one run on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts to earn the win as the Sox pummeled the Tigers, 14-1. In his two fill-in starts he has gone a combined 11 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and five walks with six strikeouts.

With the win, improving to 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA. (He did not factor in the decision in his first start, May 21 against the Cubs. He left after the fifth with the Sox leading, 2-1, only to have the bullpen implode in the eighth for eight runs.)

He threw strikes. He changed speeds. I thought he followed catcher Jason Varitek real well, Francona said. Looked to me like he only shook him off one time, which to me, when 'Teks catching is always a good thing. And they were on the same page. His pitches are good slider, fastball, changeup. But I thought he followed Tek real well.

Aceves and Varitek appeared to be in sync better in this game, with the right-hander shaking off his catcher much less.

Hes real good, Aceves said of Varitek. Hes been in the league for . . . a long time. I trust him.

Aceves and Varitek are still getting used to each other.

It was much better and we were in a much better rhythm than the start against the Cubs, Varitek said. It helps the people behind you play better when that happens.

But theres a combo. Hes been successful for a reason because of his stuff, and today was a day that we took some steps in that learning process.

Making his seventh career start Thursday, Aceves was staked to a five-run lead after the second inning, cruising through his outing. The first time through the Tigers lineup, the most he fell behind was a two-ball count to Don Kelly in the first inning before striking out the Tigers No. 2 hitter on an 89-mph cutter.

The lone run he allowed came in the fourth inning. Aceves opened the inning hitting Brennan Boesch with a pitch. Miguel Cabrera followed that with a single before Victor Martinez grounded into a fielders choice, erasing Cabrera. After Jhonny Peralta popped out to Drew Sutton for the second out, Alex Avila singled to left, scoring Boesch.

Three of Aceves six strikeouts ended innings with runners on base.

Yeah, and with a lot of different pitches, Varitek said. And different tilts on his fastball. His curveball. We used his changeup. But he did a real god job today.

With the win, Aceves extended his streak major league-best streak of wins in his last 12 decisions. This was Aceves first win in that streak that came as a starter. His 11 wins as a reliever was the longest in the American League since Jesse Crain had 11 in a row for the Twins from Sept. 1, 2004 July 1, 2005.

Aceves is pleased with his two starts. But thats only part of it.

Im happy every day, he said. Im happy every day. If Im alive Im happy. Im going to start with that.

David Ortiz went 2-for-3, extending his hit streak to eight games. He is hitting .457 (16-for-35) in that stretch.

Jason Varitek went 1-for-5, extending his hit streak to six games. He is batting .318 (7-for-22) in that stretch. It is his longest streak since he hit in nine straight games from April 21May 4, 2006.

Before Crawfords two-triple game, Jacoby Ellsbury was the last Sox batter to do so, on June 23, 2009.

Before Crawfords back-to-back four-hit games, Dustin Pedroia was the last Sox player to do so, on Aug. 29 and 30, 2008.

Outfielder Daniel Nava cleared waivers and was out righted to Pawtucket.

Right-hander BobbyJenks, sidelined since May 2 because of a right biceps strain, isscheduled to throw an inning with about 20-25 pitches for PawtucketFriday in the game against Indianapolis at McCoy Stadium. If the outinggoes well, he will pitch another inning Sunday and is likely to beactivated early next week.

Lackey, on the DL since May 12 with a right elbowstrain, is scheduled to throw a simulated game Friday before his rehabstart with Pawtucket on Tuesday.

Matsuzaka, on the DL with a right elbow strain since May 17, isstill on schedule to see Dr. Lewis Yokum in Los Angeles on May 31 onhis way back from Japan, where he is for personalreasons.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

red_sox_david_price_071716.jpg

Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

BOSTON -- There have been a significant amount of question marks surrounding David Price throughout his inaugural season with the Boston Red Sox.

Is he an ace? Is he mentally tough enough? Can he handle Boston?

Just to name a few.

Much like any player imported to Boston, the claim “He can’t handle the pressure in Boston” arises every so often.

And Price hasn’t always been his own best friend, frequently relying on the line “It’s me going out there and making pitches,” in addition to the claim that he’s never satisfied.

Price’s mellow demeanor isn’t something Boston fans are accustomed to -- they prefer Rick Porcello snarling at opponents.

Sometimes it might have seemed as if he lacked a killer instinct or didn’t have a sense of urgency, but Bryan Holaday, who played with Price in Detroit, has seen that’s not the case.

‘I’m sure he [pressing], it’s the nature of this game,” Holaday said about Price’s struggles earlier in the season. “Everybody wants to be at their best all the time and it’s not easy to do.”

However, he says that knowing full well that Price won’t display those emotions -- to anyone.

“He does such a good job on the mental side of things that even if he was, you wouldn’t be able to tell,” Holaday said before Price’s start Saturday night. “He’s never going to express anything like that. If he was [pressing], it’s nothing that anyone would be able to notice.”

There’s a lot to be said for that, too. Although baseball is driven on analytics, there’s no question that mental game is crucial, especially in the clubhouse. And a fly on the wall can easily see that Price’s presence is not only respected, but enjoyed by his teammates in the clubhouse.

“Everyday he gets up he wants to get better and that’s what makes him so good,” Holaday said. “He has that drive to be better everyday and come out and do his job. He takes a lot of pride in what he does and works his ass off. That’s why he is who he is. Any pitcher at that level, you don’t get that way by luck.”

Price may never be Boston’s favorite pitcher.

He may never be the “ace” in everyone’s eyes.

But based on Holday’s interpretations from his time in Detroit and Boston, Price will work hard to turn his first few months with the Red Sox into a minor footnote of his career.

Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

red_sox_chris_young_041116.jpg

Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

The Red Sox look to end their three-game losing streak tonight when the play the middle game of their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Against Royals' left-hander Danny Duffy (11-1, 2.66 ERA), the Red Sox start right-handed hitters Chris Young in left field and Aaron Hill at third base. Duffy has won his past 10 decisions and came into Saturday with the fifth-best ERA in the American League. He joined the rotation from the bullpen on June 1.

Left-hander David Price (12-8, 4.00) gets the start for the Red Sox. Price has won his past three decisions, going eight, six and eight innings and not allowing more than three runs in each start. 

The Royals won the series opener 6-3 Friday night.

The lineups:

ROYALS
Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Christian Colon 2B
---
Danny Duffy LHP

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
---
David Price LHP