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Up against the clock: Alfredo Aceves’ late arrival explained

06.19.13 at 6:13 am ET
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Alfredo Aceves made it interesting before the game even started Tuesday afternoon.

With game time fast approaching, the Red Sox starting pitcher for Game 1 had still not made it to Fenway Park. Red Sox reliever Franklin Morales was even sent to the bullpen to loosen up, an obvious indicator of the Sox’ concern about their scheduled starter’s absence, fearing Aceves would not arrive in time.

But Aceves hurried into Fenway, threw a 25-pitch bullpen session, and delivered another solid spot start for the Red Sox. He worked around early command issues to permit just one run in three innings; in his last three starts, Aceves has allowed just a 1.06 ERA.

“Once again, Alfredo comes in and does his thing,” said Sox manager John Farrell after the contest. “Most importantly, other than the three walks in that second inning, he was around the plate often, got some early outs and overall, was efficient.”

Much like Aceves himself, the pitcher’s command also appeared to be a little delayed getting to the field. Out of his first 35 pitches, only 14 were strikes. Many of his strike zone issues occurred in a shaky second inning, where Aceves walked three batters, but he ultimately ended the threat and limited Tampa Bay to one run by inducing an inning-ending double play. The right hander then settled down, throwing 29 out of his last 40 pitches for strikes.

Aceves has had moments of erratic behavior over his time with the Red Sox, but Farrell downplayed Tuesday’s late arrival and praised the pitcher’s ability to perform under such unstructured circumstances.

“One thing he’s shown in the three starts mentioned, is a good focus between the lines.” Farrell said. “Much like we’ve talked about with the unstructured ability to perform, today, he was at it.”

Aceves finished the afternoon going five innings, giving up one run on three hits, while walking three and striking out two Tampa Bay Rays.

Farrell admitted that Aceves is “not a guy who reports to the clubhouse early to begin with,” but cited traffic as the reason for Tuesday’s tardy arrival. The manager said that his starter remained in steady communication throughout his time stuck in traffic, and ultimately, the bottom line was the most important consideration.

“We were getting close,” said Farrell, “but [Aceves] made it.”

The Sox were glad he did, albeit for a brief cameo. The starter was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket after the second game of the doubleheader, having given the Sox precisely the lift for which they could have hoped. In the end, as far as the Sox were concerned, the right-hander had perfect timing.

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