Let's get something out of the way immediately: the Red Sox losing 13-0 sucks. I'm not trying to suggest that you want to lose, or want to get beaten in the way Boston was on Tuesday, or that losing 13-0 doesn't inherently suck. However, there are a few reasons to consider that make last night's loss not all bad. Or, at least, not as bad as the score indicates.
I don't mean in the encouraging ways you'd normally try to pass off a loss -- oh, so-and-so picked up a few hits and they've been slumping so there's that. (And not just because the Red Sox didn't have any of that last night.) But let's see if we can wring a few positives out of losing by nearly two touchdowns to the Athletics
Alfredo Aceves might have pitched himself out of a job
Aceves is useful out of the bullpen in the sense that he can be a long reliever, or a spot starter, or fill-in wherever it is the Red Sox need him to. He hasn't pitched well in 2013, though, and was terrible in 2012 as well -- the Aceves of 2011, the one the Red Sox want back so badly, doesn't seem to be around any longer. Tuesday night's game not only featured awful pitching, but Aceves balked twice and forgot to cover first on a diving play made by first baseman Mike Napoli, resulting in even more runs scored by the A's. Focus has been an issue for him in the past, and in a crowded bullpen, that's something that could separate him from the rest of the pack, and in a negative way.
With Allen Webster pitching well in his big-league debut and Franklin Morales on a rehab assignment to return from his back injury, the need for Aceves to fill-in as a starter has been lessened. If there's a long-term pitcher injury, either of Webster or Morales could step in, and if the need is there for just the one start, then Webster could be that guy if the Red Sox aren't comfortable with having Morales bounce between starting and relief too much.
Then there's just the fact that, once the bullpen is healthy -- and that should be soon -- there are going to need to be some pitchers designated for assignment, optioned, or moved in some way to clear out the roster. Even if Aceves doesn't end up being dismissed, he could be relegated solely to mop-up duty from here on out, because you can't trust him with anything more integral than that.
So, while you'd rather come away victorious, not having to see Aceves come out of the bullpen and inch that 5.93 ERA over his last 100 innings towards six any longer would be a positive side-effect of this drubbing.
The Red Sox bullpen got a night off
Andrew Bailey had pitched in three-straight games, and because of that, manager John Farrell was considering saving Koji Uehara for the ninth inning for one-day closer duties. That would mean no Bailey on Tuesday, and one of the setup men to bridge the starter to the closer would be unavailable as well, in addition to what the Sox are currently dealing with thanks to injuries to Joel Hanrahan, Craig Breslow, and the aforementioned Morales.
Instead, Aceves was terrible, but Farrell wisely used Steven Wright for his major-league debut in a game Boston was unlikely to win. Wright was also hit hard, and featured his own control problems, but the game was rained out before he needed to be lifted for a reliever they could have used on a day where victory was in sight.
Photo credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Wright was (or is in the process of being) sent back to the minors, with Daniel Bard coming up from Double-A Portland to take over the knuckler's role of non-essential innings. They get a fresh arm out of it for the next low-leverage spot in Bard, and they manage to get through a 13-run beat down without having to use up any of the bullets in the arms of their essential bullpen personnel. When you consider the Red Sox still don't have a day off until April 29 -- the end of their 19 games in 19 days stretch -- and that they already lost a game this week thanks to an empty bullpen -- or did we already forget about lefty specialist Andrew Miller approaching 30 pitches in extra innings? -- that's worth something.
Again, not great, but things could -- and are often -- a lot worse in a game like this.
Yeah, that's all I got. They lost 13-0, c'mon.
The good news is that a 13-0 loss counts in the standings the same way a 1-0 defeat does. They're still in first place, they still have an impressive run differential for the season's fourth week, and it's not like Aceves is going to start for them any longer, now that John Lackey is slated to pitch on Sunday against the Astros.
The Red Sox will have their ace, Jon Lester, on the mound on Wednesday afternoon in their attempt to win the series. Losing 13-0 will look a whole lot better if they manage to beat the competitive A's in the overall series, anyway. So hey, Jon Lester, please wash the taste of Tuesday's game out of our collective mouths, please.
Read more Red Sox:
- The value of Felix Doubront to the Boston Red Sox
- In defense of Stephen Drew
- Allen Webster’s promising Red Sox debut
- Will healthy John Lackey, Franklin Morales mean the end of Andrew Miller?
- Thoughts after a cancellation that shouldn’t have happened