Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 7, Rays 5
September, 18, 2012
By John Lembo, Special to ESPNBoston.com
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Only Guy To Make It Look Easy award goes to Craig Breslow, the left-handed reliever who needed just seven pitches to help preserve Boston’s 7-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.
After Clayton Mortensen and Junichi Tazawa allowed the Rays to score twice in the seventh on the strength of just one hit, and Vincente Padilla allowed a leadoff single to Jeff Keppinger in the eighth, Breslow entered and did his job without incident.
Breslow got pinch hitter Luke Scott to bounce into a fielder’s choice before inducing Ryan Roberts to roll into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Wednesday marked the 10th time in his last 11 outings Breslow didn’t allow a run, and he was the only Boston reliever who didn’t let a batter reach.
Walks and Ks: The Red Sox struck out 12 times, as Cody Ross, Scott Podsednik, Jose Iglesias and Jarrod Saltalamacchia all fanned twice. The only Boston starter who didn’t strike out was James Loney.
Boston’s pitchers, meanwhile, combined to walk eight Rays. Consequently, the game took more than four hours to finish.
Control was a problem for Red Sox pitchers, who threw just 85 of 159 pitches for strikes (53 percent).
Despite the wildness, Boston allowed just three hits, all singles.
Where was Aceves? Prior to Wednesday’s game, manager Bobby Valentine said the plan is to stretch the reliever out and that Alfredo Aceves would be on call to come into a game early and pitch long if he had to.
But when Felix Doubront walked three in the third inning, it was Clayton Mortensen instead of Aceves who warmed in the bullpen.
Valentine and Aceves have had a testy relationship throughout most of the season. And during an appearance roughly a week ago against Fenway Park, Aceves didn’t hand the ball to Valentine when the manager came to take him out, and then intentionally walked around him on his way to the dugout.
Aceves hasn’t pitched since, though Valentine said the pitcher was “fine physically” prior to Tuesday’s game.