Boston Red Sox Hurler Joe Kelly Threw Hardest Pitch Since Speed Was Recorded
On Friday night the Boston Red Sox scored 5 runs in the first inning against Jake Arrieta, after that they scored 0 runs. This allowed the Chicago Cubs offense to battle back and score 4 unanswered runs putting a ton of pressure on the Red Sox pitching staff.
With the Fenway faithful getting a bit squirmy John Farrell sent in wild hard thrower Joe Kelly to relieve Robby Scott in the seventh inning. Kelly ended up giving up two hits to the Cubs allowing two runs to cross the plate to make it a 5-4 game, but what Kelly was able to do during his 2/3 innings is something worth noting.
Let us just say that one pitch that Kelly threw to Anthony Rizzo in the seventh inning made all in Fenway Park echo one word.
With the count 1-1, Kelly fired another fastball to the Cubs’ left hitter. The ball was immediately pulled on the ground toward the Red Sox dugout. That pitch ended up being recorded at a blistering 102 mph.
“That was sick,” Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez told Kelly after the game.
It was the fastest pitch thrown in the major leagues this season with it being tied with one thrown by New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. The question now is whether or not it was the fastest pitch in Boston Red Sox history. The issue with that is they have only been recording this stuff with Pitch FX for the last decade or so.
But according to Pitch FX the only Boston Red Sox pitcher to hit 102 mph was Daniel Bard who hit that number July 30, 2009, against the Oakland Athletics. The specific number Bards came in at was 102.1 mph, which happens to be the same speed that Kelly’s fastball came in at.
When learning about his triple digit fireball this is what Kelly had to say after the game.
“Oh, sick.” “They all feel the same to me,” Kelly added. “I don’t think I’ve ever thrown that hard.”
In 9 appearances this season Kelly has a 2.13 ERA in 12 2/3 innings pitched. Since moving the bullpen his average fastball velocity went from being 94.5 in the rotation to 98.2 out of the bullpen this season. One thing that will always be an issue with Kelly and his velocity is going to be his ability to throw the pitch for strikes consistently. But if he can hit 100+ out of the pen, it could be an incredible asset for Boston going forward.