Joe Kelly

Wednesday's Red Sox-Braves matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Alex Wood

June 17, 2015 - 4:27 am

As their series with the Braves shifts to Atlanta, the Red Sox will send the fast-improving Joe Kelly to the mound against left-hander Alex Wood. Kelly may have predicted a Cy Young in 2015, but instead he's well on his way to the worst season of his young career. The 27-year-old is 2-4 with a 5.45 ERA, the fifth-worst mark among qualified AL starters. Although he has struggled on the campaign, Kelly has begun to turn his season around of late. Over his last three outings, Kelly owns a modest 3.18 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 17 innings. Despite two Red Sox losses in those three games, Kelly is showing promise, as he has overcome an astronomical 34 percent line drive rate to lower his ERA by 0.79 over a two-week stretch. In his last start Friday against the Blue Jays, Kelly reverted to his old ways, hurling six innings and giving up four runs. However, regardless of his performance, Kelly did enough to win as he left the game with the Red Sox up 8-4. The bullpen proceeded to cough up the lead and the game as the Blue Jays put up a nine-run seventh en route to the 13-10 victory and a no-decision for Kelly. As Kelly looks to bounce back after one of the most demoralizing losses of his season, Wood will attempt the same coming off of two losses. Over his last two starts, Wood has given up eight runs and an opponents' slash line of .283/.365/.457. The southpaw has an 11 percent swinging strike rate during this period, but could not overcome a .333 opponents' BABIP as he lost to the Pirates and the Mets. His stint against the Pirates was abbreviated after he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes "I thought [Gerrit Cole] was getting some pitches throughout the game that we weren't," Wood said after the 3-0 loss. "Especially when you're sitting down in the tunnel with the AC, watching it on the TV and hitting myself." On the whole, Wood has had a good 2015. He owns a 4-4 record and a 3.56 ERA, as well as a bloated 1.44 WHIP. The 24-year-old's problems with allowing baserunners originate with the NL's third-highest opposing BABIP. Wood has also struggled to generate punchouts this year, with a strikeout-per-nine rate of 1.9 lower than his career average. Wood will take comfort in his numbers against the Red Sox, whose hitters have mustered just one hit against him in 20 plate appearances. In two career games against the Red Sox, Wood has logged a 4.91 ERA and three walks in 3 2/3 innings. Red Sox vs. Wood (LHP) Sandy Leon (7 plate appearances): .000 AVG/.000 OBP/.000 SLG, 2 strikeouts Hanley Ramirez (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 strikeout Pablo Sandoval (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 strikeout Brock Holt is 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Wood. Xander Bogaerts is 0-for-1 with a strikeout against Wood. David Ortiz is 0-for-1 against Wood. Dustin Pedroia is 1-for-1 against Wood. No other Red Sox have faced Wood. Braves vs. Kelly (RHP) Freddie Freeman (6): .250/.500/.250, 2 walks Chris Johnson (6): .400/.500/.400 Andrelton Simmons (6): .500/.500/.500 A.J. Pierzynski (5): .200/.200/.200 Juan Uribe (5): .000/.000/.000 Nick Markakis (4): .000/.500/.000, 1 walk No other Braves have faced Kelly.