Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly on D&C: Red Sox starting rotation wants to be known as tough competitors who never back down

Ryan Hannable
March 03, 2015 - 4:44 am

Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly stopped by the Dennis & Callahan show on Tuesday morning to talk about the upcoming season both for him personally, and the starting rotation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. At an offseason event, Kelly said on the WEEI airwaves he was going to win the Cy Young. Although the right-hander said there was a little sarcasm in his comments, he is looking forward to having a solid season and feels good about his abilities. "It's something I am confident in my abilities and confident in my stuff," said Kelly. "If I go out there and do what I am capable of, it will be a pretty good year." The biggest storyline this spring surrounding the starting rotation is the thought there isn't a clear-cut ace of the staff. Kelly said that isn't an issue with the group of five, and they've discussed what they want to be known for. The pitcher also noted the emergence of rookie Michael Wacha with his former team, the Cardinals in 2013, as sometimes star pitchers can come out of no where. "I give an example named Michael Wacha who as a rookie who carried [St. Louis] basically on his back throughout the playoffs when we played the Red Sox and when we played everyone in 2013," Kelly said. "I don't think some prospect who got called up could be considered an ace, but he pitched better than everybody in the entire major league baseball. There [are] difference instances where people say, hey, you have an ace or you don't have an ace. It's something that we're going to hear throughout camp and that is OK. "It's something we have to stick together as a group of five and not really worry about the outside and try and stay on us and worry about how we're going to build together as five and work on what we want to be known for. We sat down and talked about that a little bit and we want to be known for being tough competitor pitchers that never back down, pitch some innings and win more games than we lose." After being traded to the Red Sox along with Alan Craig for John Lackey at the trade deadline last year, Kelly went 4-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 10 starts with the Red Sox. Kelly said he loved playing in St. Louis, as that was the only organization he's ever known. "I loved playing for the Cardinals. It was awesome," said Kelly. "It was one of the best experiences that I have had so far in my career. I got called up in 2012 and after I made my first start I went to go eat lunch at a restaurant and my meal was paid for. 'Hey, good start.' I had only been in the big leagues one day, so it's kind of like [even if] you're the 25th guy, you're the call up, everyone knows who you are." Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, check out On personally not being an ace: "Who said I am or I am not? It's not a problem. It's me going out there and trying to do my business out there on the mound. When I was with St. Louis, I was always in and out of the rotation -- didn't really have a spot sometimes. We had a pitcher Jaime Garcia who was one of our guys and when he went down I stepped in and took over that role of coming from a long reliever to a starter and I haven't really had a full year of starting under my belt and this will be my first -- it's what I am planning on. I'm excited for that." On attitude with team right now: "The energy in the clubhouse right now is awesome. It's always kind of like that early in camp, everyone is excited to be there after a long offseason. Everyone is excited to see the new faces, new teammates, meet and greet guys. It's going to be interesting how the middle of camp, the end of camp where everything gets monotonous, you're doing the same thing every day, what kind of energy level our team can bring. So far we're meshing pretty well as a team and our starters are having some fun. We're playing some golf together, we're eating together, we're talking some baseball -- it all depends on how our team meshes and so far so good. It looks great. There is no big ego in the clubhouse who is like, 'No, I'm doing it my way. I am not listening.' Everyone is listening to the coaches, manager, front office, trying to nit pick and learn everything from anybody." On working on throwing a four-seam fastball again: "Not working on it, I've had it. It's just something I've never used. Going up in the Cardinals organization it's something -- I don't know if you know who [pitching coach] Dave Duncan is -- you get taught sinkers over there mostly and I came as a college closer to a starter. Mostly in the beginning my transition my first year was to try to build innings, try to build pitchers and get my arm strong. Then, I had some success there and they kept starting me, putting an emphasis of getting ground balls and I went from throwing four-seamers in college as hard as I could at 100 miles per hour to trying to pitch."