We won a game! We won a game!
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With one out and one on and the Red Sox [team stats] leading by one run in the ninth inning last night, closer Alfredo Aceves gave up a deep fly ball to the warning track in left field, prompting manager Bobby Valentine to convene a conference on the mound.
“I asked if he was trying to kill me,” Valentine said later. “What else would you say in a situation like that? I said I thought we were tight, man.”
Turns out, Valentine’s words offered comic relief. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia [stats] and shortstop Mike Aviles started laughing, and Aceves calmly recorded the final out of a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
It marked Aceves’ third save in five opportunities and was an encouraging rebound from Saturday, when he faced six batters, didn’t record an out and blew a save in the eighth inning against the Yankees atFenway Park [map].
“Even if he didn’t come out, I know what I have to do,” Aceves said. “That’s it.”
Herald | Valentine lightens mood
Hats off to Bobby V for showing us his good sides. After two weeks of indecision and boo-filled walks to the mound, last night's game in Monday seemed like it was run by a whole new manager.
Some fans on Twitter questioned his going to Franklin Morales to (poorly) start off the 8th, and some fan also questioned his going to Alfredo Aceves in the 9th. Considering that Daniel Bard had shut the door on the mess Morales had made in the 9th, I understand the temptation.
But think about this from a long-term perspective. Surely, they're still thinking about Bard making starts this year. That means Alfredo Aceves is the closer. You can't yank the guy out for a week and then expect him to go right back out there and shut the door every time you give him the ball. The closer's role, as we've all heard, is so much about mentality -- you have to have an abnormal amount of confidence. His confidence is already rocked, so the manager did what was right to get him going.
Aceves can downplay Bobby's mound visit, but it was exactly the right thing to do. I got a "here we go again" feeling as soon as the ball left the bat; when it stayed in the park I was still a little nervous. Bobby got the whole infield to smile, relax, and just focus on finishing up the game. A little gallows humor at the perfect time.
On page 2, Daniel Bard reflects on his return to the pen.
Bard, who got the win, threw 11 pitches and didn’t get to work the ninth. That was left to closer Alfredo Aceves, who got the save after Cody Ross hit the go-ahead homer in the ninth.
“Yeah, it felt like the same thing I’ve done the last few years,’’ Bard said.
“I was in jams in my last start and I worked out of those. It’s just that I was a lot fresher because I hadn’t thrown that many pitches. I was trying to strike out Willingham. I made a 3-2 pitch and he did a good job to get the barrel on it. He hit a good pitch.’’
Did he take a different approach now that he’s been a starting pitcher?
“I had my pitching mind-set,’’ he said. “Same deal you’re just trying to get outs. You just have little time to get warmed up.’’
Globe | Bard's view hasn't changed
Lost in all the excitement over Bard's appearance was that he really didn't pitch all that well. The results were there, sure, but Willingham hit a rope, just right at Youk. If that line drive is a foot to the right (let's face it, Youk's range is pretty minimal these days), this post probably has a whole different tone.
But them's the breaks. A win is a win is a win.
Herald | Perfect pen-manship | Sinking to Titanic depths | No relief in Bard move | Opposite attracts Cody Ross | Globe | Save situation | Valentine, Aviles deny report of incident | ESPNBoston | Cody Ross homers twice to help Red Sox snap five-game losing streak | Ross home runs the difference maker | Bobby Valentine jokes on mound | Daniel Bard expects to start Friday | Dice-K gives up HRs in first two innings | CSNNE | Ross homers twice, Sox come back to beat Twins 6-5 | Bard comes through out of bullpen in big way for Sox | Ross carries Sox offense in win with two homers
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