Ortiz: Aceves should be starting

September, 19, 2011
BOSTON -- Designated hitter David Ortiz said he thinks that right-handed reliever Alfredo Aceves should be in the Red Sox starting rotation.

“To be honest with you, the way things are going he should be starting,” Ortiz said. “It’s as simple as that. Give it a shot.”

Aceves tossed three scoreless innings with four strikeouts in Boston’s 6-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader. Rookie Kyle Weiland, who has made five major-league starts and hasn't won a game, allowed six runs (five earned) in 4 2/3 innings.

Aceves has allowed only four earned runs in his last 14 outings (28 1/3 innings) and continues to keep the opposition off balance. Meanwhile, the starting rotation has been a major issue. In 18 games this month, Red Sox starters have recorded only two quality starts with a combined 6.38 ERA. The back end of the rotation behind Jon Lester and Josh Beckett -- Weiland, John Lackey, Tim Wakefield and Andrew Miller -- is 1-7 with an 8.24 ERA in 11 starts this month.

“He’s got good stuff, man. You see how easy he gets hitters out,” Ortiz said. “I think, at one point, he should be starting. It all depends on what our front office decides, but he’s got good stuff, man. We definitely need a guy like that, a guy to come in and give us six or seven good innings. He seems like he’s capable of doing it. We’ll see.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona recently admitted that the idea of putting Aceves into the rotation was discussed.

“If we don’t have him in the bullpen, I’m not sure where we’d go right now,” Francona said last week. “It’s not just the idea of him starting because he can do that. I don’t know how you replace him in the bullpen.’’

Aceves entered Monday’s matinee in the top of the seventh inning and retired the side in order. He allowed the first two batters to reach in the eighth, but settled in and retired the next three batters to end the threat and kept it a one-run deficit.

“Aceves has been doing that time and time again,” Francona said. “The one inning he got himself into a bind, he pitched himself out of it. He’s done a tremendous job. I wish he was available in the second game. Knowing Aceves I bet he wants to be.”

Aceves was fired up, pumping his fist and screaming all kinds of things on the mound. He also got out of a one-out jam in the top of the ninth. He tossed a total of 53 pitches.

“He’s got electric stuff. We’ve been saying that for a while, right?” Ortiz said.

Aceves has a 9-2 record in 50 appearances (four starts) this season with two saves and a 2.74 ERA in 105 innings. In his last 14 outings, his ERA is 1.28.

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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