Joe Kelly

Tuesday's Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Ubaldo Jimenez

June 23, 2015 - 4:39 am
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Joe Kelly will make his first home start since June 12 on Tuesday, toeing the rubber against Ubaldo Jimenez and the surging Orioles at Fenway Park. Kelly has faced his fair share of adversity in 2015. After making a bold proclamation before the season began that he would win the Cy Young award, Kelly has fallen far short of his own expectations, posting an underwhelming 2-4 record and a 5.32 ERA. However, the right-hander appears to have righted the ship of late. In his last four outings, Kelly owns a 3.27 ERA and 15 punchouts in 22 innings pitched. Despite the Red Sox' 1-3 record in these starts, Kelly has displayed much better command over his pitches. While he has thrown just 61 percent of his pitches for strikes, he sports a 19 percent strikes looking rate during this stretch. Against the Braves last Wednesday, Kelly worked hard for his five innings pitched, giving up five hits and three walks but just two runs. With 103 pitches, however, the 27-year-old could not get to the six-inning mark and the quality start label. The bullpen eventually collapsed under the duress of a tie game, with Junichi Tazawa allowing the go-ahead run in the seventh inning. Although he did not get the result he wanted, Kelly proud of his effort on the whole. "I felt pretty good," Kelly said after the 5-2 loss. "My body felt good. My stuff felt good. A couple walks here and there that I got irritated at, but overall I threw the ball where I wanted to all night." Jimenez has faced questions of pitch command throughout his career. Jimenez had never posted a walks per nine inning rate below 3.5 until this season, when it now sits at 2.9. His improved location has translated to overall success, as his 5-3 record and 3.27 ERA have paced the Orioles all season long. Though his last two starts have not been Jimenez's best, they've translated into two wins. In 11 2/3 innings, he has given up seven runs and two long balls, along with an opponents' slash line of .286/.327/469. In his most recent start vs. the Phillies last Wednesday, Jimenez fell victim to some bad luck. He threw 6 2/3 innings while striking out eight and walking none. His only issue came off the bat of Freddy Galvis at 100-plus mph: a three-run bomb with one out in the seventh. Mistakes aside, Jimenez has stuck close to his new mantra of pitch precision, citing it as his season goal. "That's what I'm trying to do every time," he said after the 6-4 win. "I have to make the batter earn it instead of walking guys and getting bad counts. That's what I want to do out there." Fortunately for the Red Sox, Jimenez's career ERA against them is his worst against any team in the majors at an astronomical 8.42. In eight starts vs. the Sox, the righty has logged a 1-3 record and a 1.90 WHIP, a product of 43 hits and 26 walks in 36 1/3 innings pitched. He will try to extend the Orioles' modest two-game winning streak Tuesday. Orioles vs. Kelly (RHP) Travis Snider (15 plate appearances): .286 AVG/.333 OBP/.357 SLG, 1 double, 2 strikeouts Caleb Joseph (8): .167/.375/.667, 1 home run, 3 strikeouts Adam Jones (7): .167/.143/.167, 2 strikeouts Chris Davis (6): .500/.667/.750, 1 double Ryan Flaherty (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 1 RBI Steve Pearce (6): .333/.333/.333 J.J. Hardy (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout David Lough (3): .667/.667/1.000, 1 double, 1 RBI Delmon Young (3): .333/.333/.333 Manny Machado is 0-for-2 against Kelly. No other Orioles have faced Kelly. Red Sox vs. Jimenez (RHP) Pablo Sandoval (37): .324/.378/.618, 2 home runs, 2 doubles, 10 strikeouts Alejandro De Aza (32): .240/.406/.400, 2 doubles, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts Dustin Pedroia (21): .368/.429/.421, 4 RBIs, 4 strikeouts David Ortiz (16): .154/.313/.385, 1 home run, 3 walks Mike Napoli (13): .364/.462/1.000, 2 home runs, 2 walks Hanley Ramirez (13): .091/.231/.091 Xander Bogaerts (6): .500/.667/.500, 2 walks Brock Holt (5): .333/.600/.667, 1 double, 2 walks Mookie Betts (4): .333/.500/.333 No other Red Sox have faced Jimenez.