Joe Kelly

Saturday's Red Sox-Rays matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Matt Moore

August 01, 2015 - 7:02 am

Winners of two straight, the Red Sox will look to keep building momentum Saturday as they send Joe Kelly to the bump to take on Matt Moore and the Rays.

The 2015 season has not been kind to Kelly, who owns a 2-6 record and 5.94 ERA. His ERA is the second highest in the American League among pitchers with more than 80 innings pitched (behind only Detroit's Shane Green at 6.97, and narrowly ahead of fellow Red Sox starter Rick Porcello's 5.81 mark).

Kelly has posted a 1.512 WHIP in his 16 starts this season and opponents have hit a whopping .281 with a .798 OPS against him. Kelly was sent to Triple-A to work on things for about a month before returning July 22. In two starts since reentering the Red Sox rotation, Kelly's struggles have only continued.

In 8 2/3 innings pitched in two starts, Kelly has surrendered eight earned runs on 13 hits, good for an ERA of 8.31. Opponents have hit .342 and tallied a 1.127 OPS against him while knocking three homers, two doubles and two triples.

His last outing was a loss to the White Sox on Monday. Kelly pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits. The right-hander allowed back-to-back triples and a double on the game's first five pitches.

"Rough outing," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of his starter's performance. "A lot of elevated pitches in the strike zone. There were strikes, but the command within the strike zone was lacking. A lot of hard contact early."

Moore has made just five starts since returning from Tommy John surgery in early July and has struggled to return to form. He has a 1-2 record and sports a 7.61 ERA across 23 2/3 innings of work. He has amassed a 1.901 WHIP.

The left-hander is one of an ever-growing group of pitchers to go under the knife for Tommy John. His recovery took the better part of a season and a half; Moore made just two starts in 2014 before his injury and didn't return until this past month. In his last full season, he showed much promise as a young starter coming up in the Rays organization.

Moore, 26, was an All-Star in 2013 and finished ninth in the AL Cy Young award voting. He finished the season 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA, striking out 8.6 batters per nine innings. Moore has not yet been able to return to that pre-surgery form.

In an effort to limit the strain on his arm, Moore has yet to throw more than 88 pitches in an outing this year, and has pitched no more than five innings in a start. His last outing was a loss to the Orioles on Sunday in which he hurled five frames, allowing eight hits and five runs. He walked two, hit a batter and struck out four. Like Kelly, he was pounced on early, to the tune of three first-inning runs.

"I'm frustrated," Moore said after the loss. "I feel way more excited for these games and way more up for what's about to happen. Being in there after a loss, giving up three early like that, it's not where I want to be. But I think I'm encouraged by the way I feel physically and just to see the way our guys, we were threatening more than two or three innings there."

In five career appearances against the Red Sox, Moore is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA and .989 WHIP. Three of those outings came at Fenway, where Moore is 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA.

Rays vs. Kelly (RHP)

Asdrubal Cabrera (6): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Logan Forsythe (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk, 1 RBI

Evan Longoria (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Steven Souza (3): .667/.667/2.000, 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Kevin Kiermaier (2): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Reve Rivera (2): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

No other Rays have faced Kelly.

Red Sox vs. Moore (LHP)

David Ortiz (14 plate appearances): .462 AVG/.500 OBP/.846 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 walk

Alejandro De Aza (9): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Mike Napoli (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Hanley Ramirez (3): .333/.333/.333, 2 strikeouts

Josh Rutledge (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 HR, 1 RBI

No other Red Sox have faced Moore.