SEATTLE -- Entering Saturday night's game against the Mariners, closer Alfredo Aceves had pitched just once in the last week, on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
While some closers might look at that as a much-needed break during the grind of the season, Aceves has great disdain for being out of action.
"Yeah, he loves to pitch, boy, which is a good thing," said manager Bobby Valentine. "I think the more he pitches, the better he is. He was definitely pitching yesterday until we had what we had."
The Red Sox won, 5-0, on Friday, behind an 81-pitch shutout by Aaron Cook.
It's hard for a manager to put a closer into a game just to get him work. Valentine did that earlier this season for Aceves, and it started a string in which he worked for five consecutive games.
Aceves has been one of the underrated stories of the season for the Red Sox. Thrust into the closer's role when Andrew Bailey had right thumb surgery the day before the season began, Aceves struggled mightily in the first couple of weeks.
Since then, he's emerged as a force. Aceves has 18 saves in 21 opportunities.
"I think he gets it," Valentine said. "I think he understands the role. And again, he wants to be sharp when he gets out there, and so do I. I'm very comfortable with him with the ball at the end of the game, absolutely."
In his past 30 games, Aceves is 16 for 17 in save opportunities with a 2.60 ERA and a .203 opponents' batting average.