Guest Column: Aceves is the new Mendoza

Previewing the weekend with Crashburn Alley
Bruney goes for MRI, Albie optioned

The following is a guest post by Rebecca Glass. RAB regulars may know her better as Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime. While not chatting up a storm on RAB, Rebecca maintains her own site at This Purist Bleeds Pinstripes. Any readers interested in submitting guest posts can contact me via e-mail at ben at riveraveblues dot com.

During Thursday’s game, Ken Singleton asked Michael Kay if he remembered Ramiro Mendoza. Kay sputtered for a minute, wondering why Singleton would ask him such an obvious question before Singleton corrected himself and asked after Mario Mendoza.

While the exchange was innocuous, just the mention of the name “Ramiro Mendoza” while Alfredo Aceves was on the mound seemed, at the very least, apropos.


The long man is traditionally the bullpen’s least important reliever: to be used in mop-up duty, low-leverage type situations when the starter’s appearance is cut short due to ineffectiveness or injury, and the manager needs an arm to abuse for an inning or five. Some long men are quite good. Some…well, some you end up with a 20-1 Twins win over the White Sox or that game where Texas scored 30 runs against Baltimore.

Typically, long men are the least acknowledged players on a team because when things are going well, they don’t appear. When a starter gives inning and the set-up men and closer do their jobs, the long man becomes redundant.

Still, the Yankees should know — perhaps more than any other team — that a good long man can make all the difference in the world. Even when things are going right.

The most underrated player of the Yankees during the “Dynasty Years” may very well have been their long man, Ramiro Mendoza. It wasn’t that Ramiro Mendoza was an exceptionally good pitcher–he had a career ERA of 4.30 and WHIP of 1.34 , but that Mendoza was more than a long man.

He didn’t just come in and mop up; he could spot start, throw short relief and do pretty much whatever the Yankees needed of him that day. The day after, he could then do something completely different and perform all of these roles to a standard of general competency.

Mendoza’s number will never be retired by the Yankees and only hard core fans beyond our generation will ever know his name. But I’m not entirely sure the Yankees win three straight, and four of six over all from 1996-2001, without him. (Ed. Note: In 1996, Mendoza made 11 spot starts and one relief appearance, but from 1997-2002, he was a pitching savior for the Yanks. Over six seasons, he won 50 games and had a 3.86 ERA and a 118 ERA+. You can’t buy that kind of versatility anymore.)


So why bring this up? Because if you’ve been watching Yankees baseball at all with the devotion that would bring you to RAB, you’d know that Alfredo Aceves is kinda sorta doing everything that Ramiro Mendoza did.

And he’s doing it better.

Okay, so there’s a giant enormous argument to be made for “Holy small sample size, Batman.” I acknowledge that. And hey, if Sabathia, Burnett, Joba, Hughes, Pettitte, and/or Wang all do their collective jobs, the sample size is probably still going to remain pretty small and not rival Mendoza’s 100+ innings pitched in four of the nine seasons he pitched (and four of his six seasons during the great run in the Bronx).

Still, though, Aceves’ meteoric rise through the minors last season, from high A to the majors, is Joba-like, and while, at 26, Aceves isn’t projected to be a future ace, he did come through as a starter. Given how successful Aceves has been in the bullpen thus far, it’s perhaps hard to imagine that he was a starter so recently.

Yet, few pitchers, starter or reliever, could throw two innings one night and then three the next. It’s different than a closer, who might throw one inning three nights in a row, especially if they are ‘easy’ innings, which many of the elite closers do without breaking a sweat.

Aceves threw two critical innings in the game on Wednesday, when it was still 5-3, and then three innings last night. While those innings were low-leverage by the 6-0 score, they become higher leverage considering that the Yankees needed to fashion so many innings from the pen.

That kind of versatility, especially in light of the relative (lack of) talent of the short relievers with any sort of hair, is invaluable for the Yankees.

Just consider this: Aceves was recalled from SWB on May 5. On that day the Yankees were 13-13 and had lost three straight. Since then, they are 11-4, and have won nine straight. Aceves didn’t win most of those games, and the ones he won, he didn’t do so on his own. But we can’t say that he hasn’t helped.

The sample size is too small right now to be able to do a full comparison — perhaps at the end of this season we’ll have a better idea — but right now, Alfredo Aceves could very well be that ghost of Ramiro Mendoza we have wanted for a while.

Previewing the weekend with Crashburn Alley
Bruney goes for MRI, Albie optioned
  • Drew

    We’ve needed him as a valuable long man as of late. Though I hope that after these couple days off for him, he begins to see the high leverage situations that Veras and Albie were getting.

  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Nice post. I think, as you acknowledged, that it’s entirely too early to call Aceves the new Ramiro, but it’s certainly a nice thought. He’s just a little too far away from having multiple 100+ inning seasons as a reliever/spot starter to really make the comparison yet. Dare to dream, though.

    • jsbrendog

      also being 26 puts him out of the youngster danger range for inning fluctuation. i don’t see why he couldnt do a couple 100+ inning yrs in a row at this point mixing in starts and bullp[en innings.

      it only goes to show you how true it is that bullpen pitchers are in the bullpen because they can’t start. the aount of fringe guys like aceves/mendoza who are good in the bullpen and good as starters is so small i challenge you to name 5 others besides ramiro mendoza in the past 20 yrs that have done it consistently (meaning at least 2-3 yrs in a row)

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        I hear you, but that challenge is a little rigged don’t you think? Guys who are adequate middle-inning relievers/spot-starters for 2-3 years aren’t exactly “memorable,” especially (to Yankees fans) when they don’t play for the Yankees.

        • jsbrendog


  • Frank Sobotka

    “Just consider this: Aceves was recalled from SWB on May 5. On that day the Yankees were 13-13 and had lost three straight. Since then, they are 11-4, and have won nine straight. Aceves didn’t win most of those games, and the ones he won, he didn’t do so on his own. But we can’t say that he hasn’t helped.”

    Aceves didn’t win most of those games, he didn’t even appear in most of those games, but to buttress my argument about how awesome Aceves has been in limited appearances, I’m going to include this nonsense paragraph.

    • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      But the games Aceves has appeared in include not just the last two, but he also worked some of the extra innings-relatively high leverage situations if there ever were some.

      Just another point towards his versatility.

    • Moshe Mandel

      He’s 3-0 in those 11 wins. You can say the win is a silly stat, but scoreless frames in consecutive extra innings games, as well as 3.2 scoreless yesterday, considering the rest of this bullpen, and you could say that he has been a major factor lately.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Yeah, you’re right. And Becca even stipulated in her post that it’s not like Aceves is single-handedly pitching the Yankees to victory from the bullpen, but that really he’s just been a big help (if I might paraphrase). Frank Sobotka’s criticism is somewhat valid, but is a little too harsh and doesn’t take into account the context in which Becca made the argument in question.

        • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

          Wow, that might be some of the kindest things you’ve said too/about me.

          So thanks =D

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Becca… I’ve never made a personal attack against you. I’m sorry you seem to feel like I don’t like you or something. I like discussing and arguing about the Yankees (and baseball in general), I’m not really so interested in who I’m discussing stuff with as much as I’m interested in the points/arguments they post in their comments.

            That said… You’re welcome, I guess. ;-)

            • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

              Sometimes the woman in me gets the better of me ;)

              • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Yeah, Popavero often has that problem, too.

        • Drew

          Also, in a pen full of early disappointments and injuries, it’s easy to point out a “savior.” At this point, anyone that can get consistent outs late in games or in a pinch is extremely important to our success. Right now, Alf fits that bill to a tee.

  • D Gold

    Lefties are also hitting .105 against him.

  • Jamal G.

    Ah, good ol’ Ramiro Mendoza, or as my father and his friends used to call him, “the Other Panamanian”.

    • jsbrendog

      hahaha nice.

      good ol #55 (i think) even when he was older he still looked 15.

  • Slu

    Good post. Let’s just hope Girardi doesn’t destroy Aceves’ arm like Torre destroyed Mendoza’s.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Apologies to Alfredo, but I have no problem with overusing Aceves if the Yankees get Ramiro’s career out of that overuse. What are we saving him for, mop-up duty in 2019?

      • Zack

        Well I hope you’re not one of those fans who say Joe Torre ruined Scott Proctor’s career

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Oh he probably did, but I think you missed my point. I’m just not overly concerned with the long-term prognosis for a middle reliever. I think you use them while they’re effective and don’t worry much about how they’ll pitch when they’re 36 years old. (And that doesn’t mean you toss a guy out there for 150 innings out of the ‘pen and kill him after 1 or 2 seasons of work. Use them effectively to maximize their performance/return with a much shorter long-term expectation than you would with a promising young starter.)

          Let’s play a game. I’ll stipulate, for the sake of this game, that Torre “destroyed” Ramiro’s arm. If you were given the option, today, of getting Ramiro Mendoza Part Deux in Alfredo Aceves, but he gets the same overuse and will only last about 7 years before succumbing to injury like Mendoza did, do you not accept that option?

          I’ll go ahead and answer myself: F*ck and Yes, I accept that option. You’d be crazy not to.

          • Zack

            I dont think that’s a fair question.
            Yeah as fans I dont think most of care if a guy elbow blows out in 5+ years, as long as we win a championship. And honestly most pitchers dont care if it means they’re in the majors making millions of dollars for 5 years.

            But you also missed my point, dont know if you checked out the posts when Torre commented on Proctor not speaking up when he was hurt people on this site were killing Torre for ruining his career, making him do set up, middle relief, pitch in blow outs, etc.

            Yet I read this article and it sas “He didn’t just come in and mop up; he could spot start, throw short relief and do pretty much whatever the Yankees needed of him that day. The day after, he could then do something completely different and perform all of these roles to a standard of general competency.”
            -So you guys blame Torre for doing that to Proctor, then turn around saying they should do that for Aceves

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              No, I think you’re mixing apples and oranges here. The complaint about the use of Proctor during the Torre years was that he was used too often, in his role as a short-spurt reliever. The complaint was that Torre would become enamored of one or two relievers, then only use those relievers, leading to their overuse and to the other pitchers in those bullpens not reaching their potential.

              I’m not sure how that applies to Al Aceves’ use. You’re trying to make this into a “you complained about Torre but now you want to do the same thing Torre did” thing,” but nobody’s saying that the Yankees should do to Aceves what Torre did to Proctor.

              Not to mention that the whole thing is kind of out of left field and is kind of a straw-man argument. I never said anything about Scott Proctor or Joe Torre, and I never said the Yankees should “Torre” Aceves.

              • Zack

                “Apologies to Alfredo, but I have no problem with overusing Aceves if the Yankees get Ramiro’s career out of that overuse.”

                That’s not “Torre-ing” Aceves?

                • jsbrendog

                  no because he is fulfilling multiple roles. if he gets to that many innings by STARTING 10 games a yr in spots AND coming out of the bullpen for 40 innings then that is not torre-ing him as long as he is given rest.

                  follow me here:

                  the torre:
                  pitch one reliever in 8th monday of 1 run game.
                  pitch same reliver in 7 run loss the next game for 2 innings.
                  shceduled off day
                  pitch reliever for 3 innings in game won by 7 on thursday
                  pitch reliever in 8th inning of tie game friday.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  In the Scott Proctor sense? No, it’s not. I won’t bother rehashing again why the use of Proctor is irrelevant to this discussion, multiple people have made that point in this conversation already.

                  Perhaps it was a poor way to say it. How do you feel about this: “Apologies to Alfredo, but I have no problem with using Aceves like Mendoza was used if the Yankees get Ramiro’s career out of that use.”

            • TheLastClown

              Scott Proctor started a total of 1 game his entire career. That alone shows that the cases of Mendoza v. Proctor aren’t comparable.

              Torre threw Proctor out there night after night, sometimes. Even when he got shelled. It wasn’t a versatility thing, it was overuse of a hard throwing bullpen arm. When you see a pitcher fail out of the pen, as the Manager w/ the pitching coach & trainers perhaps, you analyze his mechanics & have him medically examined for injury.

              I just don’t buy the “he should have spoken up” line totally. Sure, the blame isn’t 100% one way or the other, but as the skipper, I feel its more 70/30 Torre.

              • Zack

                I wasn’t making the case of Mendoza v Proctor, my point was strictly Proctor. A previous article we had people blaming Joe because he would throw Proctor in the 8th, or 7th, or 3innings if a starter got knocked out, in extra innings, etc. Yet I come here and people are saying that’s how we should be using Aceves and who cares if his elbow blows out in 5years.

                It’s Torre faul that Proctor was hiding an injury and kept going out to pitch?
                “The right-hander has been hurt about a month, but kept it from manager Joe Torre and the training staff. He has allowed 14 runs — 11 earned — over 8 2-3 innings over his last 11 appearances.”
                “After some more prodding, Proctor came clean with Torre. An injured player cannot be optioned to the minors.”


                • TheLastClown

                  The post is about Aceves, and Mendoza in comparison to Aceves.

                  You said it would be hypocritical to want to use Aceves like Torre used Mendoza, because people criticize Torre’s use of another, completely separate case of a pitcher, Scott Proctor.

                  And I know that quote, I’ve seen it here before.

                  I just think a big league manager should be a bit more perspicacious & not just scratch his head while one of his guys in consistently under performing his potential. Maybe have him examined, and not put a major league athlete in the position of having to pull himself off the team.

                  Baseball players are paid to play baseball. Baseball managers are paid to think about it.

                • jsbrendog

                  no actually its torres fault for throwing proctor 85+ innings 2 years in a row and without giving him rest in between and in LOW LEVERAGE SITUATIONS where they were winning by a lot already because he had no confidence in ahyone else even to HOLD A 6+ run lead.

                • Zack

                  Yeah cause when Proctor was traded to the Dodgers in 07 and pitched in 31 of his team’s last two months is Torre’s fault.

                  “not just scratch his head while one of his guys in consistently under performing his potential”
                  -Again was he ever put on teh DL with the Yankees? No, because he wasnt hurt until 2008. And Torre pitched Proctor because he went out and performed? middle releiver pitch to a 3.82 and 3.5 era is underperforming?

              • leokitty

                There was at least once where Proctor pitched both ends of a double header, and then the next day, and then only got one day off too. Clearly his fault for not speaking up.

                • Zack

                  Clearly Proctor pitched 04-07 healthy and did not get injured until 2008, he was hiding an injury so it could have been a simple elbow strain but he continued to pitch and hide the injury and ended up needing surgery and now needs TJ

                • jsbrendog
                • Zack

                  And if you did a real study case from more then just 1 manager i’m sure you’d find similar results for middle relief arms that arent good enough to close or start.

                • jsbrendog

                  And if you did a real study case from more then just 1 manager i’m sure you’d find similar results for middle relief arms that arent good enough to close or start.

                  no you wouldn’t. you know why? because other managers use mroe than two of their bullpen arms.

                  scot shields, the Angels most used reliever, has NEVER had more than 78 appearances in a year.

                • Zack

                  Shields never had over 78 appears- but he threw 196 innings over 2 years out of the BULLPEN. >”no actually its torres fault for throwing proctor 85+ innings 2 years in a row”

                  He pitched in 78, 74, 71 of the Angels games in 3 straight years- that’s basically half of their games

                • jsbrendog

                  i meant 85+ games. in which he was only 10 innings or so away from 200.

                  and throwing extra innings at one time is better than throwing one every day. its about warming up and the wear on your arm.

            • jsbrendog

              scott proctor:

              sure, he pitched the last 4 days and we’re winning by 4, get proctor up.

              torre pitched proctor like 4 days a week whether we were down 10, up 10, or tied. it was awful.

              aceves is a guy who comes in as a NORMAL bullpen guy, 2 innings here, couple days off, inning here on bakc to bakc days, day or two off etc and makes a spot start when someone is banged up (wang or joba) and then happily goes bakc to the bullpen and throws another inning 4 or 5 days after starting.

              you are trying to compare tow things that are not even rmeotely similar

              • Zack

                Proctor was helathy in 04, 05, 06, 07. He did not get HURT until 2008 when he continued to pitch while hiding an injury from the team.

                • TheLastClown

                  Isn’t it possible that overuse during those years led to the current injury?

                  At least partially?

                • jsbrendog

                  2004 – 26 games
                  2005 – 29 games
                  2006 – EIGHTY THREE games
                  2007 – EIGHTY THREE games

                  there’s your answer zack

                • Zack

                  1. did you inclue minor league games for 04 and 05? no you didnt
                  2. he was only on the yankees for 52 games in 2007, he got traded at the deadline

                • jsbrendog

                  1. go ahead and look it up and it will be nowehre EVEN CLOSE to his total games and innings in 06 and 07. bet a million make believe internet bucks

                  2. so of 108 games thebyankees played by july 31 (the day he was tradd), he pitched in 52 of them!! and thrown 54 innings. after throwing 100+ innings OUT OF THE PEN the previous year? no wonder his arm fell off.

                  the evidence is above in my links to the other thread, based on games and use, torre ran proctor, quantrill, karsay into the ground. and i bet if you looked up tom gordon him too.

                  hell the only reason cash traded proctor was to get rid of torre’s plaything so hed use someone else for god sakes

                • Zack

                  1. 04- total IP 69
                  05- total IP 87

                  -So where are those million internet bucks you owe me?

                  2. And out of the Dodger’s remaining 60 games Proctor pitched in 31 of them

                  3. Tom Gordon, pitched 59inning with the Phillies with a 3.34 era and 34 saves, and pitched 40 inningsi n 2007. But hey blame his manager from two years before his injuries appeared. Oh and he pitched 1900 innings with other managers besides torre

                  4. This wasnt meant to begin a whole Proctor debate again. It just mentioned to point out that the same fans who complain about Torre and Proctor, turn around and same to abuse Aceves and who cares if he gets hurt in 5years

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Ugh, let’s just drop this. This whole conversation started because I said the word “overuse”. It was probably a poor choice of words used for a dramatic flourish.

                  Nobody’s arguing that the Yankees should use Aceves like Torre used Proctor. The Proctor issue has not only been discussed ad nauseum, but it’s also an old and dead issue. Proctor’s gone, Torre’s gone. Enough.

                • jsbrendog

                  zack. if you goup and read, the two have nothing to do with each other. you are grasping at straws and comparing apples to oranges. you cannot compare mendoza and proctor. this is about comparing aceves to mendoza. fact.


  • Tank the Frank

    Great stuff by Becca. Very well written.

    I love the idea of having Aceves in the bullpen for years to come. I think his stuff is much sharper coming out of the pen and his fastball has more velocity when in short relief. Even though he has several quality pitches he can throw for strikes, his stuff doesn’t seem good enough to turn a lineup over 2 or 3 times. I’d much rather see him throw all of those pitches at hitters with max effort for two innings.

    He’s also very serviceable as a spot starter. I think we all got a sense last night that pitching depth is always something to be concerned about. If Wang gets knocked around again, Joba can’t make a start, or anyone else comes down with an injury (Mo forbid), Aceves is obviously the first option.

    • jsbrendog

      the scary thing is that if wang implodes again the only thing keeping us from a kei igawa sighting is Alfredo Aceves…

      chew on that

      • Benjamin Kabak

        Or, you know, Phil Hughes.

        • jsbrendog

          im sorry i left out “thats assuming also joba is healthy enough to make his next start. because if he is not, then hughes steps in for wang and aceves for joba.

          my bad

        • tim randle

          Are we all 100% sure that Joba is making his next start, and by all, I mean everyone who isn’t Joba who made that prediction when his knee was still only half swollen and only blue instead of black and blue…then green, then yellow…

          Raise your hand if you expect to see 100% out of Joba with a green knee on Tuesday?

          • TheLastClown

            He’ll come back, throw 8 shutout innings, and they’ll give out wearable green knees a la last years mustache.

            Hand squarely raised.

  • TheLastClown

    I really like to watch this guy. From the moment I read his nickname and that he chose #91 to emulate loony tunes Dennis Rodman, I was behind this guy a little bit more.

    Then he came up & I got a look at him. Everything I’ve seen really, between this year or last, makes me want to keep him around as long as possible.

    That being said. I think he could be a very successful ML starter. He’s got great composure, it doesn’t seem to make any kind of difference whether he feels good or not, he just pitches. And well.

    We don’t know how CMW is going to perform, and we’ve seen more of a tendency to pull Hughes out of games earlier rather than later, so the Ramiro role is necessary right now. But, eventually, CMW will figure it out, and Hughes will either figure it out or go down to AAA.

    Say Hughes doesn’t figure it out consistently.

    I’m one of those who would like to see Hughes in the ML bullpen for 1-2 innings, for this year, so he could gain some big confidence. The 9K’s were good, but with all the K’s, he’s not going to be a lengthy starter, this year. When he’s not getting a lot of K’s, he seems to get hit hard, save for his first start where he featured that cutter & matched K/GB.

    I would like to clarify that I think he’s the replacement for Andy next year, so he’s obviously a starter, but we do have an abundance, we do have a sometime bullpen deficit, & we don’t get helped by his dominance in AAA. This is moot if CMW can’t get his legs back, but I’m confident that he will.

    So, this was about Aceves, and I’m getting back to him. IF Hughes goes to the bullpen & CMW comes back nice & strong, then we’re looking at CC, CMW, AJ, Joba, Andy, with Mo, Bruney, Hughes, Coke, etc.

    Aceves, as I said before, could be a successful starter. If we can’t use him in that capacity, perhaps he could be traded for a good positional prospect? I don’t know for whom because I don’t pore over MiLB for anything other than Yankees info, so maybe someone has some thoughts on that? I wouldn’t want to let him go for a middling prospect, but he obviously won’t net a Heyward, and I don’t know who’s desirable in between.

    So overall, this guy is valuable. And a different kind of valuable from every facet of the prism.

    • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      So I just misread ‘prism’ as ‘prison’ and had to do a double triple take.

      • TheLastClown

        Six takes? That takes the cakes :)

        Great post by the way, forgot to say it before. Too involved in my own rantings.

    • Drew

      I agree about the value Aceves holds for us.
      The B-jobber argument for Phil doesn’t hold water. He needs innings innings innings.

  • kunaldo

    thing is, you can’t just determine his value based on the games he’s appeared in. you have to remember that he’s saving the other bullpen arms from being used and abused for the subsequent games.

    • Bruno

      Exactly. The trickle-down-domino-affect can’t be overlooked either. More Aceves = less Veras = more wins.

  • Pasqua

    Don’t mean to steal the subject matter, but I just heard Michael Kay announce that Bruney wasn’t available last night due to elbow pain. He had an MRI, it was clean, and he’s unavailable tonight. Any way you cut it, that ain’t good.

    Apologies if someone has posted this already. I didn’t have a chance to peruse the comments.

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      Please, news of this sort is appropriate for email, not for comments. We’re trying to keep comments as on topic as possible. We don’t want this to blow up like Metsblog.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “Don’t mean to steal the subject matter…”

      Isn’t that exactly what you intended to do?

      • Pasqua

        Yes it is. I’m new here. Trying to be polite, I guess. Not familiar with the “rules.” Joseph very nicely pointed out my error. You on the other hand…

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Oh boo-hoo lol.

          Just kidding… Look, I didn’t tell you about the rules, Joe did that himself. I just pointed out that you said something… well, something kinda stupid. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be a dick to you if you hadn’t said “I don’t mean to say ‘X,’ but, ‘X.'”

          • Pasqua

            Fair enough. But really, if we hold everyone up to a high idiomatic / grammatical standard on a blog, how much time would be spent pointing out errors? Lots. It was a figure of speech, even if it was a poorly placed one.

            You write well, by the way.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Thanks, you do too! Commenter-hug.

              And I don’t feel the need to point out all idiomatic/linguistic flubs, just the especially irritating ones. As decided by me.

              (Kidding. You’re right, no need for me to snipe like that. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.)

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  • Mike Pop

    Aceves threw me a ball yesterday, so he’s okay with me. Nice
    Post becca.

  • jim p

    We should always remember Mendoza was called “El Bruho.”

    People always mention Stanton and Nelson, but Mendoza was also a key part of the Yankees awesome setup crew during that run, and I think everyone recognized that at the time.

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  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    From K Law chat

    1 ER in 48 IP for Matusz. Ridiculous. Opening Day rotation?”

    For real?