Sox Undone By Fastball Command

This offseason the Red Sox went back to basics in terms of reemphasizing patience at the plate. While probably pharmaceutically aided, the Red Sox bats were undone by a wily veteran who pounded the strike zone.

Luckily most pitchers can't command their fastball like Bartolo Colon can in this second act of his career. Any pitcher with even average command of his fastball should use Colon's game plan from tonight. The Red Sox don't have a lineup of pure hitters. They need to get ahead in the count and sit on their pitch. When the Red Sox have gotten behind in the count is when they have struggled this year.

This was all mooted by the pitching of Alfredo Aceves. In fairness to Aceves the home plate umpire, defense behind him, and a manager who left him out to dry when he was obviously fatigued didn't help matters. Still, Aceves was wretched in his own right. That's how a game can get entirely out of hand in the span of 20 minutes.

With John Lackey due to come back, Aceves can go back to his middle relief role. If he doesn't pitch better soon, he could easily find himself squeezed off the roster with Franklin Morales and Craig Breslow coming back. With his antics, the bar of acceptable performance becomes higher.

At the risk of sounding like Bill Simmons, I call it the Shea Hillenbrand Corollary. As soon as our old friend Shea's performance dipped a little bit, he was out of baseball. Contrast that with Kevin Millar who was able to hang on for at least an extra three years as a bench player because of his good guy reputation.

Would it surprise anyone to see Aceves on another club in two months and pitching well? The fans of his new club would be wondering why the Red Sox gave up on him in the first place. If that sounds vaguely familiar it's because we were all questioning why the Yankees gave up on Aceves when he was pitching well for the Red Sox in 2011.