Alfredes Aceves was the winning pitcher in last night’s 16-inning marathon between the Red Sox and Rays, throwing three scoreless innings before Dustin Pedroia’s hit finally broke a 0-0 tie.
With the victory Aceves improved to 19-2 for his career, which is a .905 winning percentage that ranks as the best mark in MLB history among all pitchers with at least 20 decisions. Seriously.
Of course, by making the cutoff just 20 decisions the whole list is basically filled with pitchers like Aceves, who while very effective weren’t exactly Cy Young contenders:
W L WIN%
ALFREDO ACEVES 19 2 .905
Luis Aloma 18 3 .857
Howie Krist 37 11 .771
Brendan Donnelly 32 10 .762
Brad Clontz 22 8 .733
Brad Clontz! All five of those guys are non-closer relievers who vultured wins because of how they were used as much as how well they pitched, but 19-2 is still pretty remarkable for someone with just 189 total innings.
Bump the decision cutoff up to, say, 250 and the leaders are Whitey Ford (.690), Pedro Martinez (.687), Lefty Grove (.680), Roy Halladay (.669), and Christy Matthewson (.668), which is a slightly more impressive list.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.