Joe Kelly

Day after disaster, Joe Kelly channeling his closer's mentality

Rob Bradford
May 26, 2015 - 10:23 pm

MINNEAPOLIS -- A day after allowing seven runs over just 1 2/3 innings, Joe Kelly was still the focus of attention prior to the Red Sox' Tuesday night tilt with the Twins at Target Field. Would he be moved to the bullpen? Would he get sent to Triple-A? Would he be staring blankly at a screen, breaking down video of his disastrous outing? It was none of the above. First thing, Red Sox manager John Farrell met with the starter, identifying some issues that have plagued Kelly through a season that has seen him give up five or more runs in five of his nine starts. "We had a chance to sit down and review yesterday's game with him, and the one thing we continue to try to point out to Joe is that he's learning himself as a pitcher and what makes him most effective," Farrell said. "Yesterday there were a number of balls that leaked back to the middle of the plate that he paid for. "I still contend and strongly believe that his curveball is a major weapon that's got to be used in his pitch mix. You look back at the Texas game: He made a very tangible adjustment after three innings of work when he went to his curveball more than his slider and slowed them down and had some quick and efficient innings. It's part of the education process of who Joe is as a pitcher and what makes him most effective." And after the get-together, there were no signs of anxiety emanating from the pitcher. It's a forward-thinking mindset, he explained, he first embraced during those first few games of living life as a pitcher as a college closer. "I've always been good at that," Kelly said. "I was a closer. You blow a save and you still have to pitch the next day. There's not reason to sit on anything. "Right when the game ended I was over it. You can't let that kind of stuff bother you for that long. You don't want to be negative outside the field, either. You'll just be bringing people down. That's not a good way to live your life. I don't want to go home and be angry at my dog and my wife. I don't do that. You have a bad outing, once you're off the field you just leave it." Kelly understands how bad it's been. Staring at a 6.24 ERA is pretty cut and dried. He also believes his issues have been identified, as he succinctly explained when asked about the pitcher's most recent outing. What happened? "It wasn't good." Why? "I was throwing balls out over the plate that were very hittable. Simple. Location and pitch mixing." Where you happy with the pitches you chose to throw? "I didn't really have time to mix yesterday because guys were swinging from the get-go. It kind of put me in a bind." What can you do to go on a run of good starts? "Just pitch better." Kelly clearly wants to worry about what is going to happen, not what already did. For that, he can thank those relief outings for the University of California-Riverside. "That was my first time pitching. At first I used to get really mad that I blew a save," said Kelly, who didn't pitch on a regular basis until college. "I would still be mad about it the next day and then I was like, 'Oh crap, I have to pitch.' I just figured it out. "I've always been able to do it. It's just life. You have to be able to get past it, especially in this business. If not, it will make you angry at people you don't need to take it out on. It's not a good way to live your life."