The lead in the Wild Card standings is down to two games and the starting rotation continues to be the Red Sox biggest weakness. While I appreciate the effort from guys like Tim Wakefield and Kyle Weiland, they’re not 4-5 starters on a playoff caliber team, if even legitimate starters at the MLB level.
Alfredo Aceves has been a strength in the bullpen for the Sox all season long and has come up particularly big lately. He has started four games for the Sox this season; he started the season as a starter in the minors. Is he the answer to the rotation woes?
The first thing you’ll notice about Aceves’s numbers is a sparkling 2.88 ERA. However, his peripherals aren’t as good as that ERA would suggest. His 1.7 K/BB ratio is below average, especially for a reliever, he doesn’t miss many bats (83 percent contact rate against) and he allows more fly-balls than ground-balls. That being said, Aceves has generated quite a bit of weak contact this season (14 percent line-drive rate against) and has gained about one full MPH on his heater compared to prior seasons with the Yankees.
Since August 1st, Aceves has thrown over three innings in a game five times, including his three shutout innings yesterday. Over that span, Aceves has upped his strikeout rate to the tune of 32 K’s in 31.2 innings of work. If Given his recent performance, don’t you have to give him a shot in the rotation at this point?
There is, of course, the issue of how his stamina will play out in the rotation. He hasn’t gone over four innings in a game since June 21st and he has a 5.41 ERA with a 1/1 K/BB rate as a starter this season. This question mark surely has the potential to hurt the Sox if they hand Aceves start. Then again, there is a way to combat that potential flaw.
Since rosters have expanded for September, there are plenty of arms in the pen. The Sox could use this to their advantage by starting Aceves, hope he can pitch four or five solid innings, then mix-and-match in innings four through seven before turning the ball over to Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon for the eighth and ninth. In other words, let him go as long as possible, but get the bullpen busy at the first sign of fall-off in his stuff or location.
In my opinion, the Sox have to make this move. Aceves is certainly not the most dominant pitcher in the world and his stuff could fade as he reaches innings four and five due to his routine as a reliever this season, but at least Aceves has shown the ability to generate weak contact this season. We may not know for sure what he’ll do in a one-start situation, but we sure as hell know that the other options have been tried and that they have failed.
Would you give Aceves a start? Head on over the the right sidebar and cast your vote>>>>>>
Last week’s poll question asked you to identify the season’s most pleasant surprise. The votes are in, and it wasn’t even close.
Jacoby Ellsbury‘s superstar rise (58%, 223 Votes) – Yeah. He’s been amazing.
Salty’s progression (15%, 56 Votes) – One of the reclamation projects that actually worked out for the Sox this season. Salty has posted 2.7 fWAR this season.
David Ortiz’s continued resurgence (13%, 49 Votes) – Mo production = mo money/mo years? Mo Vaughn (sorry)?
Josh Beckett‘s utter dominance (8%, 32 Votes) – Stay healthy big guy.
Jonathan Papelbon’s 7.5 K/BB rate (2%, 9 Votes) – The command returned this season, just in time for his free agency.
Dustin Pedroia‘s career best WAR (1%, 5 Votes) – Nothing Pedey does seems to surprise anyone anymore.