The Boston Red Sox pitching situation right now is far from optimal, to say the least. The heir to the closer position, and Jonathan Papelbon’s replacement, Andrew Bailey is on the 60 day disabled list after undergoing surgery on the thumb on his pitching hand. Starters John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka are both on the disabled list, as well, in addition to reliever Bobby Jenks. The final rotation was not determined until just before the beginning of the season, and Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard have been inserted in the fourth and fifth spots in the makeshift rotation. Alfredo Aceves has been appointed the interim closer. This is far from the staff that Red Sox Nation had envisioned going into the season.
Aceves saw action in the 9th inning of the Sox first game against the Detroit Tigers, coming into a 2-2 game. Mark Melancon started the inning and gave up back to back singles, after which he was promptly pulled in favor of Aceves. Whether it was nerves or just a fluke, Aceves hit the first batter he faced, loading the bases. The next batter, Austin Jackson, singled and subsequently gave Detroit the win in walk off fashion. Not a good start to the season for the Red Sox and their pitching staff. Unfortunately, it seems as if the way things played out in the opener was a sign of things to come in Boston this year. Regardless of the win – loss record, this already has the feeling of a year that is going to be incredibly interesting, if nothing else.
Aceves does have the potential to succeed in the closer role, even though he is obviously not the optimal choice. He actually recorded 2 saves for the Red Sox last year and has a career record of 24 -3, which is remarkable. Sox fans are going to be holding their breath every time he enters a game this year and hoping that he can improve on that 24 – 3 record.