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The choice proved ill-fated when, after retiring the side in order in the eighth, Aceves allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth, costing the Sox their lead and the game, a 6-5 walkoff loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
"There wasn't much choice," said Valentine. "I don't know what else I could have done."
Valentine then looked at an index card that details relievers' recent workloads and read the information.
"(Andrew) Bailey wasn't pitching (after pitching four times in the last five games)," said Valentine. "(Vicente) Padilla's pitched four of the last five games. (Mark) Melancon's pitched four out of six. There really wasn't anybody tonight except maybe (Junichi) Tazawa, who still needed an extra day.
"I don't think the (Angels) matched up with (lefty Andrew) Miller. (Clayton) Mortensen pitched in three of five days and warmed up the other days twice."
On one hand, I want to side with Valentine. Aceves was rested enough, and even though he was on for a second inning, he only threw 24 pitches. We've seen plenty of 24-pitch outings in one inning -- old friend Jonathan Papelbon had his fair share of those when he would walk the first batter.
But I don't really agree with Bobby V's reasoning. I think this is some kind of mind game, although I can't tell exactly what. Is it reinforcing to Aceves: "This is the situation you put me -- and yourself -- in by going and getting suspended"? Maybe.
Either way, he certainly could have pitched Tazawa in the 8th, or even Craig Breslow, who wasn't mentioned in Bobby V's rundown. Or Mortensen, who, sure, pitched as much as Valentine said, but only registered a third of an inning in each of those last two appearances. Since when is K-ton that fragile?
More odd reasoning and poor communication (nice job reading from a card, who are you, Ellsbury?) from Bobby V.
And at what point are we all going to recognize that Aceves is the weak link in the bullpen? I know he's a competitive guy and has a great work ethic and all that...but eight blown saves is eight blown saves. This year doesn't matter anymore, but if there is any remote controversy between Bailey and Aceves for closing next season, it's crazy. Bailey's the guy.
CSNNE | Aceves blows save in return as Sox lose to Angels, 6-5 | Iglesias makes first start of season for Sox | Stewart to make Red Sox debut Wednesday vs. Angels | Aceves back with Sox after suspension; Morales to DL | Herald | Alfredo Aceves melts again | Despite loss, Sox still playing to win | Red Sox no match for Mike Trout | Globe | Aceves, Red Sox crumble in ninth | Zach Stewart gets his shot on Wednesday | Aceves returns and another brutal loss follows | ESPNBoston | Mike Trout, Torii Hunter key Angels' ninth-inning rally past Red Sox | Rapid reaction: Angels 6, Red Sox 5 | Olney: Sox put Dice-K on trade waivers | Red Sox reliever back after ban | Morales goes on DL with 'tired' shoulder