Top Five Red Sox Pitcher Disappointments of 2015

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Jun 23, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly (56) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

#2 – Joe Kelly

Well, at least for Kelly, the Red Sox felt that he could still be a starter last night.

When the aforementioned trade with Lackey happened, Cherington was confident that Kelly would be the answer. He was younger than Lackey and, even though he was more expensive, Kelly’s arm would be under contractual control for the next few years. Cherington told ESPN that “[Kelly] was an important addition as we go into the offseason. We wouldn’t have done the Lackey deal without getting someone like that back.”

That someone is 2-6, with a 5.74 ERA in 2015. In his last 7 games, Kelly allowed 24 runs and 13 walks in 32.2 innings.

Kelly lost his control somewhere between St. Louis and Boston, so he was told to go to Pawtucket to find it. He had four starts and posted a 1-1 record and a 2.84 ERA, allowing 14 hits in 19 innings for the Triple-A affiliate. Not terrible, but not dominant.

On his return last night against the Astros, Kelly allowed four earned runs on six hits in 5.1 innings.

Kelly’s problem is his strategy. It looks like he’s trying too hard to strike everyone out. He’s had success in that category; however, his 96-mph fastball has been so straight that he gets hit really hard by anyone whom he doesn’t strike out. Opposing batters hit .270 against him and 78.6% of all balls hit off of him are absolutely cranked, giving the defense a very hard time trying to clean up his mess.

With so many issues, the potential that Kelly once made Cherington blush has made his fall from grace that much more than Masterson’s. At least with Masterson it was a known risk. With Kelly, it was a major disappointment.