BOSTON, MA – MAY 13: Joe Kelly (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
High Leverage Innings
So we have the 8th and 9th innings covered, what about the 7th?
Assuming Joe Kelly returns from the DL soon, and is back to 100 percent, look for him to take the 7th inning most nights. Kelly’s been the second best reliever for the Red Sox this year (3-1 with a 1.49 ERA in 34.1 innings) and Farrell had started using him as 8th inning setup before his injury.
Farrell was not pitching in back-to-back games before the most recent injury, and I would expect that trend to continue as the season wears on. Who pitches when Kelly isn’t available?
I’m going to say Brandon Workman gets the first look in this role. This includes the next however many games before Kelly is back healthy. Workman’s comeback this year has been my favorite Red Sox story.
After he pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings of relief on the way to a World Series trophy in 2013, Workman struggled mightily in his next season, posting a 5.17 ERA in 87 innings for the 2014 Red Sox. Spring training 2015 saw Workman injure his elbow, and he’s been working his way back from Tommy John surgery since.
This season we’ve gotten glimpses of the healthy pitcher who was so dominant in the 2013 playoffs. He’s posted a 2.08 ERA in 17.1 innings pitched.
Only once this year has Workman given up more than one run, and that was in his third inning of work. Bringing him in for the 7th and then handing it off to Reed/Kimbrel should be the plan if/while Joey Kittens is unavailable.