FORT MYERS, Fla. –– Alfredo Aceves has been a model of consistency. Through his four years in the majors, he's assembled a 24-3 record, the highest winning percentage for a player in baseball history.
That reputation made his outing Saturday tougher to grasp. In arguably the most important start of the spring –– that had implications for the starting rotation –– Aceves struggled, surrendering nine runs through three innings. Even Aceves doesn’t remember the last time he was shelled that badly.
"Since when?," Aceves said after the game. "I don’t remember. When did I have the last bad outing?"
The closest guess is May 31, 2011, when Aceves yielded eight hits and six earned runs in a 10-7 loss against the White Sox. That day he was charged for his first of two losses in 55 appearances for Boston.
Based on the significance of the start –– and Felix Doubront’s dazzling performance –– it didn’t help Aceves’ case to be a frontrunner for the position. But bench coach Tim Bogar offered a vote of confidence after the hurler’s rough game.
"He's got a track record, and he's shown us before he can pitch," Bogar said. "We were trying to stretch him out to six. Obviously, it didn't work. The fact that he went out there today and kept his poise through the whole thing, too, that showed me a lot there."
Aceves will likely have one more opportunity to showcase his skills before Opening Day.
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