Boston Red Sox: Grading the First Half for Alfredo Aceves

Brian RoachCorrespondent IJuly 13, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 16: Alfredo Aceves #91 of the Boston Red Sox points skyward after getting a save against the Chicago Cubs on June 16, 2012 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Boston Red Sox defeated the Chicago Cubs 4-3.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

Alfredo Aceves was thrust into being the closer for the Boston Red Sox towards the end of Spring Training and has really been a competent closer in the place of Andrew Bailey. If anything, he deserves a B-B+ for his efforts during the first half of the 2012 season.

Aceves really struggled early on against the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees in April. He finished the month 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA and converted 5-of-7 save opportunities.

During May, he settled down with a 2.89 ERA and 8-of-9 saved games with another loss to his name.

The struggles returned in June with an 0-3 record and a 3.14 ERA in 12 appearances. He saved all five games he entered as the closer.

So far in July, the 29-year-old has appeared in four games and has a 4.91 ERA. He already has one blown save in July.

His fastball has been one of the pitches that Aceves has tried to rely on in each outing, and sometimes he has trouble locating it. He has been throwing it harder than he was last season.

In 2011, he threw usually 93-95 MPH compared to 95-97 in 2012. This is mainly due to the fact that he feels a need to compensate with a higher fastball to get it by the hitters he faces in the ninth inning.

Another pitch that has been a go-to pitch has been the change-up. This pitch has also been iffy, and when it is bad, then usually the fill-in closer struggles.

In the second half, he should be able to regain the confidence every Red Sox fan saw in 2011 and will not allow so many base runners like he did in the first half. We shall see if he can keep the job when Andrew Bailey returns in late-August.