Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The next day, in Toronto, manager Bobby Valentine sat in on a meeting the pitchers were having to prepare for the Blue Jays. His team was 0-3 and had allowed 26 runs.
Valentine wanted to observe the pitchers, particularly Aceves, to determine whether changes were needed.
“I was trying to read his eyes,’’ Valentine said. “He looked right back at me. He knew I was searching.’’
Later, when Valentine returned to his office, a clubhouse attendant handed him a note from Aceves. Only one word was written on it.
“Just one word. That was it,’’ Aceves said. “Everything comes back to trust. I wanted him to trust me.’’
“I can guarantee a lesser man would have been shaken by that game in Detroit,’’ Valentine said. “The next day he was kind of testing me if I was going to stay with him. When I told him yes, I believed he wasn’t shaken. Plenty of guys would run away. He didn’t.’’
Globe - A trusty closer emerges
If you've been reading our site for the past year and a half, you'll know that I'm a big Aceves guy. I think he's a special pitcher in a Wolf from Pulp Fiction kind of way. Whatever the situation calls for, you can bring in Aceves and he'll get the job done.
This is why I didn't want to see him inserted into the rotation. You've heard the boring cliche in basketball a million times, "you can't teach height"? Well, you can't teach a pitcher the type of versatility that Aceves possesses. He is whatever you need him to be. So when Bailey went down, inserting Aceves into the closer role made perfect sense.
Now, despite that little lover letter in the first two paragraphs, I've been calling for Aceves' demotion pretty much since that awful meltdown in Detroit. While he had pitched in numerous "pressure situations" since arriving in Boston, he never had to be the closer. And, more importantly, he never had to try to fill the shoes of the most successful closer in Red Sox history. Which wasn't fair to him.
Especially when it's compounded by the fact that the man had been training to become a starter for the entirety of Spring Training. He was never put in a position to succeed as the Sox closer. In fact, no one was besides maybe Melancon (which we've pretty much all but forgotten about). And let's all be thankful Bobby didn't tag him for the 9th.
Those first ten days of the season were historically bad for Aceves (and the Sox bullpen as a whole), but since then he's been damn impressive. He's allowed just two earned runs over his past 15 games while striking out 19 batters over 18+ innings while issuing only 5 walks over that span.
Trust. That little anecdote from the Globe article gave me goosebumps. Aceves knew he could work the 9th. It was just going to take him a few innings to get the hang of it. Excuse me while I repeat myself, but Aceves will be whatever you need him to be.
Rest of the links:
Herald - After awful start, Red Sox relievers getting outs | For all the troubles, Red Sox remain in chase | Adrian Gonzalez must turn on power | Globe - Title talk with Bobby V | Matsuzaka to pitch for Pawtucket on Saturday | WEEI - Schilling's company lays off entire staff | Olney on M&M: Scouts concerned about Bard | CSNNE - Nava providing Red Sox with major-league value |