Joe Kelly allowed five runs in six innings, while striking out 10 in a no-decision against the Blue Jays Monday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Even with up-and-down outing, John Farrell has faith in Joe Kelly: 'He's got big-time stuff'

Ryan Hannable
April 27, 2015 - 7:06 pm

Red Sox starter Joe Kelly hit 100 MPH with his fastball a few times in Monday's game against the Blue Jays. With most pitchers that would be their go-to pitch, but not Kelly on Monday. The Blue Jays hitters pounced on Kelly's fastball and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. Kelly's big mistake was to rookie Devon Travis in the second inning when he took a Kelly offering into the Monster seats for his sixth home run of the year. Kelly managed to settle down (despite 33 first inning pitches) and went six innings, allowing five runs on five hits, while walking three and striking out a career-high 10 batters. He's recorded at least seven strikeouts in three of his first four starts this season. This comes after not striking out more than six in a game prior to coming to the Red Sox last year. "I was shaky the whole night with my fastball command," Kelly said. "It'€™s something that we'€™d call fastball away down and away to righty and it was something that I was missing over the middle or missing in. So from then on out I basically had to go to my off speed, which is the only thing that kept me in that ballgame." According to, Kelly relied on his slider after seeing his fastball wasn't getting the results he was looking for. He threw the slider 27 times (24 strikes) in the game. This comes after throwing the slider 18, 15, and 12 times respectively in his first three starts of the year. Even with the up-and-down outing, Kelly drew some praise from his manager afterwards, as through his first four starts of the season, the right-hander has shown he has the "stuff" to be the pitcher the Red Sox need to lead their rotation. "The positive is you're not going to find better arm strength, better velocity," manager John Farrell said. "At times he may over throw occasionally and mis-locate such as the 0-2 pitch to [Devon] Travis (home run). It's electric stuff and as he begins to harness it and understand when he's most effective. And that is when he's using his secondary pitches as well, he's got big-time stuff." With the Red Sox coming in with the worst starters ERA in baseball, things weren't looking good for Kelly as he allowed three first inning runs, including one after the second batter of the game. But, with the powerful Red Sox offense behind him, Kelly knew his team wasn't out of it and that helped him remain focused and get through the six innings. "When you're on the mound, you're never out of the game," said Kelly. "These guys can put up 13 [runs] in an inning in a heartbeat, especially with how good our hitters are. I don't want to do it, but if you give up five runs in an inning you have to go out there and keep battling. Try to pitch as deep into the game as you can. Give these guys a chance to chip away and that is what they did."