For former Red Sox starter Joe Kelly what a difference a few days and about sixty miles make.
The Trials and tribulations of the self-proclaimed 2015 Cy Young Award winner are well documented. The 2015 season has been a professional disaster and an embarrassment for the trading acumen of the front office. A stat line of two wins and five losses thanks to an ERA of 5.67 – and those were the good points.
Kelly was in the near bottom rung among AL starters in performance. The one bright spot was his fastball that was consistently among the very best in the league. However, speed did not translate to success, so it was goodbye to Boston and hello to Pawtucket.
The management stated all the “right” things publicly to mitigate any actually shred of honesty in saying Kelly was simply a dud. A bomb in which the Red Sox lost nine of his 14 starts as Kelly often placed the putrid offense in a fatalistic “we will never catch up” mode.
So this afternoon Kelly takes the ball in Pawtucket and performs as one expected he would in Boston. Against Gwinnett – which is located somewhere in Georgia – Kelly goes a 95 pitch seven innings, allowing a single earned run while walking one and striking out four in a no-decision performance. And 59 of those 95 tosses were for strikes.
Before one gets all giddy over the prospect of a Kelly rebirth this type of performance is not unusual as Kelly will occasionally tease and tantalize with an exceptional performance. Opening his 2015 season against the Yankees is exhibit A with a one run on one hit seven inning win. Six strong innings against Oakland and 6.1 equally proficient innings against Seattle. So occasionally even the blind squirrel finds a nut.
The talent is there and the public persona presented by management is Kelly is in Pawtucket to – as all the catch phrases go – find consistency, location and to harness the lightning in his right arm.
As the noted pitching coach, Dr. Phil, would say: “Past behaviors are indicative of present and future behaviors.” I’ll pass on Kelly until I see six more starts.
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