BOSTON (CBS) — By the time everyone in New England went to bed Tuesday night, the narrative had been written: Alfredo Aceves pitched poorly, blamed the weather and the umpires and called out his teammates for not getting hits.
On closer examination on Wednesday morning, though, that might not be the accurate story, at least not the criticism of the Red Sox’ offense.
Without a doubt, Aceves pitched terribly against the A’s, as evidenced by the seven earned and eight total runs he allowed in his 3 1/3 innings on the mound. He seemed to lack focus too, getting called for two balks in the third inning and hesitating before running to first to cover the base on Josh Reddick’s infield single. And in listening to Aceves’ roughly seven-minute session with the media, he made his fair share of excuses, from the bad weather to the hole in the mound made by Bartolo Colon to an unfair strike zone, and so on and so forth.
Yet the one quote that’s sure to be magnified, be it on Twitter or sports talk radio, is the one about his teammates not getting any hits. Here’s what he said when asked how Colon was able to throw seven shutout innings in the same conditions:
“Maybe his strike zone is not that small, because for whatever reason. Also the guys get like a hack, you know? Why do we don’t hit? Same thing.”
The comment raised a lot of eyebrows when it went out over Twitter, and with good reason. If Aceves was indeed pointing a finger at his teammates for failing to come through with runs on a night when he was the problem, then any and all outrage directed at Aceves would be more than justified.
However, in listening and watching to all of Aceves’ postgame comments, it really doesn’t seem that was his intention.
The only discernible points Aceves made was that he considered the strike zone to be small, and that forced him to feel like he had to pitch over the middle of the plate, which took his confidence away from him. He also said that the hole dug in the mound by Colon affected him. And he admitted that his failure to cover first base in time was all his fault.
But other than that, Aceves’ thought process drifted around, and it was clear that with English not being his first language, he struggled to fully explain what he wanted to.
And with that, fans and some reporters alike jumped to the conclusion that Aceves was upset with his teammates for not hitting, and so he decided to air out his frustrations through the media.
Say what you will about Aceves being unpredictable on and off the field — and there’s plenty to say there — but accusing him of doing that in this instance is a bit of a stretch.
Aceves may very well be in the process of pitching himself off the roster, but despite many reports coming out of Fenway, he didn’t talk himself off the team on Tuesday night.