As many times as he's played the odds and won already in this short season, John Farrell is confident that sending Alfredo Aceves to the mound today for his first start since 2011 in fill-in duty for John Lackey is as solid a plan as any.
The numbers all check out. Aceves has seen the Orioles more times over the course of his career than any other team in the majors. He's 5-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 25 appearances against the Orioles. He hasn't thrown more than 3.2 innings in two years, but Farrell says he hopes Aceves will go at least six tonight.
"I think the way the game unfolds and the stress with the pitches that he throws will have a lot to do with when his night is over," Farrell said. "Hopefully, that later more than sooner. But we're confident with him going to the mound here. He did a good job in that role in spring training. Fifty-two pitches five days ago. So it's not that we're taking a guy that hasn't pitched recently and at least been stretched out to a certain extent. Without giving a hard number, we're hopeful that he's walking out for the sixth inning or beyond."
Even with the power throughout the Orioles lineup, pitching coach Juan Nieves said he wants Aceves to attack their hitters.
"We have a plan," Nieves said. "Pedal to the metal with him. Give us your best stuff for as long as you can. Once you get tired we'll pull you out. But I want him to attack the strike zone. That's a very good team, but we have a game plan and we're going to stick according with it."