Alfredo Aceves rarely has a whole lot to say. Good or bad, he’s a man of few words, and today he needed only a few words to sum up his first rocky outing of the spring.
“I just missed pitches,” he said.
Although Aceves went through the order fairly easily the first three innings, there were several hard-hit balls, and manager Joe Girardi said he could tell from the beginning that Aceves didn’t have his best stuff.
I didn’t think he was as sharp as he’s been,” Girardi said. “But he knows how to change speeds and knows how to expand the zone.”
That was enough for a while, but the Astros caught up to Aceves with two runs in the fourth and three runs in the fifth (plus a fourth run charged to Mark Melancon). Aceves saw his spring ERA reach 3.77, which is still a fine number, but it’s now middle-of-the-pack among fifth-starter candidates. Phil Hughes has the lowest at 2.08, and if Hughes was in fact the favorite heading into camp, the race might be his to lose. Girardi, though, said he still doesn’t have a fifth starter decided in his mind.
“We could talk for hours and we might still not come out and have the decision,” he said. “But obviously we’re getting to the point where we’re going to have to make one in the next week or so.”
The picture is from the AP.