In consecutive outings, Aceves has managed two blown saves and two losses — while coughing up three separate leads in four innings of work — all against the Angels. It's an incredibly frustrating loss for Boston, as the Halos just seem to continually find a way to pull out games against the Red Sox in dramatic fashion.
With the loss, the Red Sox see their record fall to 62-68, while the Angels improve to 67-62. Kevin Jepsen (3-2) picks up the win in relief, while Alfredo Aceves (2-9) gets saddled with the loss.
That's it for us from your Red Sox Live Blog, but don't worry, we'll be back with another edition tomorrow as the Red Sox try to bounce back in Anaheim. First pitch is again scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET, but you can tune into NESN beginning at 9 p.m. for all your pregame needs. You can also check in with NESN.com and this very live blog.
And, as always, follow this live blogger at @ZachStoloff to chat Red Sox and all things MLB.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 5-4: Well, Jose Igelsias' bat remains questionable, as the rookie goes 0-for-4 and kills a potential rally with a doulbe play there. It's been talked to death, but Iglesias is also going to save a few runs with his glove.
Anyway, on to the bottom of the ninth! The Red Sox will try to close out the Angels, further damage Los Angeles' playoff hopes and take the opening contest of this three-game set.
End 8th, Red Sox 5-4: After being held out three games due to a suspension, it looks like Alfredo Aceves has come back with a little something extra on his fastball, consistently hitting the mid-90s for what feels like the first time in a while.
Likewise, there would be a little irony if the Sox keep Aceves around for a two-inning save after last week's debacle, but he's performed admirably in the closer's role throughout the season, and with Andrew Bailey unavailable tonight, it could be on Aceves to finish it out.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 5-4: That's two nasty curveballs thrown by Garrett Richards there to get Saltalamacchia to end the inning. In the end, though, it's just a wasted chance for the Red Sox, who would probably like to open the game a bit and score some insurance runs, knowing that the Angels' offense is among the better ones in MLB.
So, it'll now likely be up to the Sox' bullpen to hold the one-run lead, and we all know that didn't go so well against the Angels last week, so we'll see how it plays out on the opposite coast.
End 7th, Red Sox 5-4: This live blogger thoroughly questions the logic of pitching to Pujols in that situation. Of all the players in the lineup, he's the one guy who you don't want to let hurt you, but the Sox gave him a chance to tie the game in the latter innings.
Even with Morales — who's been hot of late — and Trumbo — who's been cold of late — coming up behind him, Pujols, along with Trout, is the clear difference-maker in the Halos' lineup, not to mention one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game. Why you would give him the opportunity to change the complexion of the game is beyond this live blogger.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-4: We were just having a spirited discussion in the NESN offices about the future of some of the Red Sox prospects — specifically, guys who have already had some time at the major league level — and Ryan Kalish's name was brought up.
Not sure this live blogger feels informed enough to share an opinion about the young outfielder, but Kalish is definitely at that point in his career where he needs to produce to warrant a roster spot going forward. He should be another player the Red Sox ought to give some regular at-bats to throughout the rest of 2012.
End 6th, Red Sox 5-4: One thing ought to be clear to everyone across Major League Baseball: Do not give Albert Pujols a pitch over the plate.
The Machine suffered through an epically awful first month and a half of the season. Through May 15 — 36 games — Pujols hit just one home run and had a pitiful .536 OPS in 146 at-bats.
Since that time, however, Pujols has played like, well, Pujols. In the 85 games since that point, coming into play Tuesday, Pujols has hit .315 with a 1.026 OPS, hitting 27 home runs and 72 RBIs.
In short, throw out that first month and a half, and Pujols is right in the middle of the MVP discussion. In any case, he's still probably the most dangerous hitter in the game, and Buchholz now has a firsthand understanding of just why that is.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-2: Having a healthy and productive Ellsbury would go a long way in a return to form for the Red Sox, and you just saw firsthand just how dangerous the center fielder's speed can be in that last half inning.
Ellsbury's bat has also come around recently, too. After having tough go of it since coming off the disabled list in July, Ellsbury has gone 13-for-33 of late, including a home run and three doubles. He's not yet shown the power he exhibited throughout 2011, but one would have to imagine that will come in time as he continues to get comfortable after missing so much time.
End 5th, Red Sox 4-2: That's 15 of the last 16 and nine in a row retired by Clay Buchholz, who is certainly making up for his last outing against the Angels.
On second glance, it is indeed the four-seam fastball that Buchholz is mostly featuring tonight, and the difference isn't all that difficult to spot. The two seamer has a lot more movement, running in to right-handed batters, and it looks like Buchholz was having trouble controlling that movement early on. The four seamer is a straighter pitch, and Buchholz is spotting it well.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-2: Oh. My. Gosh.
We're not even sure what to say about this one, suffice to say it's one of the more bizarre viral videos you're soon to see — and that's clearly saying something.
We don't even claim to know what "Gangnam style" even means, but, well, here you go.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-2: Buchholz has certainly settled in since a rough first inning, now having retired 12 of the last 13 batters he's faced, and six in a row.
Earlier we mentioned Buchholz's early use of the curveball, and that doesn't look to have changed much. What has changed, however, is that the right-hander now looks to have much better command of both of his fastballs but seems to be using the four-seam variety more often, staying on the outside corner to hitters.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-2: Four runs is often more than a team will get against Weaver, so now it's up to Buchholz to make sure the advantage stands up throughout the course of the game.
You would have liked to see the Red Sox do some more damage against Weaver there, having the bases loaded with no outs. However, that's certainly part of Weaver's dominance — limiting damage. Either way, Saltalamacchia certainly looks like he has the lanky right-hander's number tonight.
End 3rd, Angels 2-1: Buchholz has begun to look stronger as the game has unfolded, and given that Jered Weaver looks to be in his usual All-Star form, this one could well be decided by the starting pitchers.
That's kind of what we should have been hoping for coming into the evening, right? With two of the premier pitchers in the game — at this point, this live blogger is comfortable saying that about Buchholz — you'd certainly like to see them go head-to-head. And good pitching usually yields quicker games, and that could be a boon for Red Sox fans as Boston jaunts through the West Coast and late start times.
Mid 3rd, Angels 2-1: This live blogger has raised concerns about Pedro Ciriaco's long-term viability as a starter before, but this stat really stands out. In 144 plate appearances in 2012, the infielder has walked just three times, which is plainly awful.
Moreover, the lack of pitch recognition on the part of Ciriaco suggests even more heavily that he's not capable of keeping up a .353 batting average. Rather, a career minor league OPS of .656 suggests that the bat just isn't there to sustain the kind of aggressive offensive gameplan Ciriaco employs.
Again, none of this is to suggest that Ciriaco wouldn't make an excellent utility infielder. But, as a starter, the Red Sox need to look at other options as they evaluate the shortstop position for 2013.
End 2nd, Angels 2-1: It's been a bit of an odd start to the game for Buchholz. In addition to the early trouble he's gotten in, his gameplan appears to be a little different than most starts. Specifically, the right-hander is mixing in his curveball much earlier than usual — throwing a brilliant one to Trout to get him looking and end the frame.
Not sure what that means, but it could be that the rest of Buchholz's offspeed stuff just doesn't feel right coming out his hand. The 27-year-old is known for his 12-6, biting curveball, but usually it's a weapon that's reserved for the second and third times through the order.
So let's see how Buchholz's pitch selection develops as this game unfolds.
Mid 2nd, Angels 2-1: Saltalamacchia hit that ball a ton. It's not terribly easy to hit home runs in Angel Stadium (of Anaheim), particularly with high-arcing fly balls such as that one.
Angel Stadium is close enough to the Pacific Ocean where the marine layer becomes a major factor for evening games, making the park one of the distinct pitcher's venues across Major League Baseball, probably on par with Dodger Stadium. It's not quite the offense-killer of Marlins Park, SafeCo Field or PetCo Park, but the Angels' pitchers certainly aren't complaining about calling the venue their home.
End 1st, Angels 2-0: Well, maybe Clay Buchholz's kryptonite is the Angels? That's the way it has seemed lately, as the right-hander had been on quite a roll before meeting the Halos in consecutive starts.
Aside from that, what's left to say about Mike Trout at this point? It's not accurate to say Trout is a five-tool player — his throwing strength is average at best — but his other four tools are off the charts, his speed first and foremost. However, Trout's power has developed way ahead of schedule, as the 21-year-old just showed how easily the game comes to him on that first-inning blast.
It's a terrible cliche, but the sky really is the limit when talking about this special rookie.
Mid 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox just announced that swingman Franklin Morales been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 24.
The official explanation is shoulder inflammation, and reliever Alfredo Aceves will be reinstated from his suspension to take Morales' spot on the active 25-man roster.
It's difficult not to speculate that Morales has had a lot of stress put on his arm throughout the year, as drifting between the bullpen and starting rotation is no easy feat. So, is Morales just experiencing some unavoidable soreness or wearing down from irregular use?
It's up for debate.
10:08 p.m.: We have first pitch! And, for those wondering, the gametime temperature is 86 degrees with 37 percent humidity and winds from the southwest at four miles per hour.
9:35 p.m.: Well, despite the ideas that this live blogger has offered regarding the Red Sox' first base situation, James Loney gets the start at firse base on Tuesday, as newly crowned International League MVP Mauro Gomez sits.
In other lineup news, Ryan Lavarnway gets the start behind the plate and in the cleanup role. That's a positive thing, as the Sox are likely seriously evaluating players with an eye towards 2013 at this point, and Lavarnway should be at the top of the "let's see what he's got" list.
Aside from that, Albert Pujols returns to the Angels lineup after missing a few games with a calf issue sustained last week in Fenway, so the Halos should be at full strength on the offensive side.
Check out the lineups for both clubs below:
Scott Podsednik, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Ryan Lavarnway, C
James Loney, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, DH
Ryan Kalish, RF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Clay Buccholz, P
Mike Trout, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, DH
Kendrys Morales, 1B
Mark Trumbo, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Maicer Izturis, 3B
Erik Aybar, SS
Chris Iannetta, C
Jered Weaver, P
9 p.m.: It should be fair to call the Red Sox and the Angels the two most disappointing teams in Major League Baseball's 2012 campaign, right?
That's the feeling of ESPN columnist David Schoenfield, anyway, and this live blogger would be inclined to agree. While the Angels are still in the race, 4 1/2 games off the pace of a wild card slot entering play Tuesday, their chances are growing slimmer by the day, and their season-long problems aren't all that different from Boston.
Basically, both teams have been struck by some severely disappointing starting pitching from ace-caliber sources. For the Red Sox, it's been Jon Lester and the just-departed Josh Beckett, and for the Angels, it's been C.J. Wilson — who has an ugly 7.43 ERA over his last eight starts — Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, all of whom have been thoroughly underwhelming in 2012.
Likewise, the offenses have been pretty decent for both clubs, with Boston second in the American League in runs scored and the Angels fifth. However, the Halos have had some significant bullpen issues that have hindered them, while the Red Sox have thrived on a patchwork 'pen.
Nonetheless, this is still a game with implications, so expect a good one as the Red Sox try to play spoiler after getting swept last week by L.A. at home.
8 a.m. ET: Well, the Boston Red Sox (62-67) and the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) (66-62) meet for the second time in a week, and last time, in Boston, the Sox didn't fare so well, being swept in the three-game set.
The Red Sox will look to do better this time around and play spoiler to the Angels' wild card hopes, as L.A. finds itself 4 1/2 half games back of a one-game playoff slot entering play Tuesday. The Halos may have at least one advantage in this one, though, as they had an off day Monday after playing a weekend set against the Detroit Tigers, while the Red Sox won an afternoon getaway day game against the Kansas City Royals, then promptly boarded a plane for the West Coast.
Tuesday's series opener will also mark a rematch between aces Jered Weaver (16-3, 2.74) and Clay Buchholz (11-4, 4.47) after the pair met last Wednesday at Fenway. In that one, Weaver clearly got the better of his counterpart, as Buchholz was tagged for seven runs on 12 hits in just 5 1/3 innings of work. Weaver, meanwhile, tossed seven innings of two-run ball, but let's see if the Angels still have a good read on Boston's 27-year-old budding ace in the marine layer and pitcher-friendly environment of Angel Stadium (of Anaheim).
First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET, so we sure hope you're up for a late one to enjoy some West Coast baseball. Be sure to tune into NESN starting at 9 p.m. with Red Sox First Pitch, or just stick right here with NESN.com and our Red Sox Live Blog. We'll have the starting lineups, and, as Vin Scully would say, "all the stats and stories" in the hours leading up to Weaver's first toss of the (late) night.
And, as always, follow this live blogger at @ZachStoloff to chat Red Sox and all things MLB.