Boston Red Sox Reliever Joe Kelly Slowed Down Pitches Against The St.Louis Cardinals To Increase His Control And Throw Strikes Against His Former Team
Boston Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly was part of a miraculous bullpen effort on Wednesday night to help Boston achieve a victory over the St.Louis Cardinals. Kelly was very unlike himself though against St.Louis, instead of the overpowering speed we are used to seeing, we were seeing a more controlled Kelly who had good movement on his two-seamer and a more accurate approach to hitters.
Per BrooksBaseball.net, the hardest pitch he threw on Thursday was 94 mph. That is far below of his 102 MPH he has hit this season.
Kelly was fortunately not injured, but instead this was a purposeful attempt to gain better control and run his two seamer a bit more against his former team.
Pitching in the eighth inning right after the Red Sox scored two runs in the top half of the inning to tie the score at 4-4, Kelly threw 10 pitches, six of them breaking balls. He threw seven strikes in all. Aledmys Diaz grounded out to third, Magneuris Sierra struck out looking on a fastball and Kolten Wong singled.
“Coming up in this organization is, the hitters that I ended up facing . . . I’ve seen ’em in spring training, I’ve seen ’em throughout their whole careers,” said Kelly, who chatted with old friends during batting practice both days. “These are hitters that are very patient. If you start trying to blow it out and throw it as hard as you can and start throwing balls, these guys will take pitches.
“It’s one of those things where I mentally went into the game knowing that if I paint, you know, with a little bit of movement, they’re going to be taking pitches. If I throw strikes with my breaking ball — Wong got that hit. It wasn’t hit hard. But, before that, I got two strikes on him. Swing and miss with the breaking ball.
“I know Diaz too. Early in spring training, I threw fricken 99 down and away and he ripped a line drive over the first baseman’s head. So it was one of those things where I was conscious. Coming back, I didn’t want to go out there and overthrow [in a] tie game and put guys on base for free. So just try to get out there and throw strikes with a little bit of movement.”
This is an interesting development in Kelly’s career as he is seemingly continuing to grow and progress into a nice relief option for the Boston Red Sox. If all goes well Kelly will continue to develop into a top reliever for Boston.