Not once over the course of Alfredo Aceves’s six innings of one-run ball did the mercurial pitcher shake off a sign from his catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
“Which is a little different than what we're used to,” Saltalamacchia said.
All throughout the Red Sox' 9-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, they were on the same page.
Aceves was making a spot start in the place of Clay Buchholz, who was scratched late Sunday night with irritation in his collarbone.
It was his first major legaue start since being optioned to Triple A Pawtucket more than a month ago after a disastrous outing against the Oakland Athetics that saw Aceves give up eight runs (seven earned), seven hits, four walks, balk twice, and making comments after the game that were equally puzzling and candid before being demoted.
But with the Sox needing a reliable arm, Aceves was steady. He scattered seven hits, including a solo home run to Erik Kratz in the third, striking out four against three walks, pitching to contact with his fastball, cutter, and changeup.
“He's always been pretty good [with command],” Saltalamacchia said. “He's always been able to throw the ball over the plate. But tonight, he never shook me off, he was throwing strikes to both sides of the plate and was able to work a lot quicker and more effective.
“The curveball wasn't as sharp, other pitches were still good. His fastball still had good velocity, cutter was still good. The changeup offsets all that. But when you're able to throw the ball over the plate and throw on the corners and just get some contact, hit the ball right at our guys, that's the name of the game.”
With the Sox looking to activate Franklin Morales on Tuesday, the likely move would be to option Aceves back to Pwtucket after calling him up on Friday. However, no move was announced.
“There's no move at this point,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “We did talk about Franklin being available for us tomorrow. That move has not been finalized yet. So there’s some things coming in the next day or so.”
Between his start today and a solid appearance in relief against the Indians, Aceves was able to provide the Sox with stability in a pinch.
“Ace is a different guy,” Saltalamacchia said. “Nothing really bothers him too much. So he looked the same. His temperament was the same. It wasn't like he was overanxious or not ready. He looked like he was out there with a purpose and he did a good job.”