BOSTON — The Red Sox are just 13 games into their 2016 season, but they already need a spot starter in their rotation.
Joe Kelly left Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning after suffering a right shoulder impingement, and he’ll be placed on the 15-day disabled list. While it’s too early to know just what Kelly’s final diagnosis will be, Red Sox manager John Farrell didn’t sound too hopeful about how much time the right-hander will miss.
“He?s sore,” Farrell said. “As much as he tried to gain a little velocity, he felt a little bit of a grabbing or pinching sensation, so the right shoulder impingement is what he?s been diagnosed with, likely that he?s going to miss some time.”
Kelly said he felt some discomfort before the game, and even in the days leading up to Tuesday, but it was never enough to really concern him.
“From warming up, I thought I?d be able to get through it, and getting through that first inning, I just couldn?t really get loose out there, and obviously you could tell with the velocity,” Kelly said. “Wasn?t feeling right. Any time I tried to reach back and get a little bit more on anything, nothing was coming out right and just felt a little bit awkward.”
“I thought I was going to be good to go and went out there and tried to step on the gas and nothing came out,” Kelly added.
Kelly dealt with a shoulder injury in September, but things were starting too look up for him in building upon a strong finish last season. Needless to say, Kelly isn’t happy about the setback.
“It?s really, really frustrating,” Kelly said. “Something that after I came out of the game, I came out and sat in my chair and not only upset that the bullpen?s been working their tails off and pitching big innings, but it was something just going through my head sitting there, pondering and thinking about what the next step is. … First start wasn?t what I wanted, but I started feeling like I was going in the right direction, and to have something like this is very disappointing.”
Here are some more notes from Tuesday’s 3-0 loss.
— Boston’s bullpen pitched a heck of a game until the 10th inning. Heath Hembree, Robbie Ross Jr., Junichi Tazawa and Craig Kimbrel combined to strike out 12 batters over 8 1/3 scoreless innings. It was just the fourth time since 2000 that the Red Sox’s bullpen struck out at least 12 men.
— When Hembree’s called upon to go deeper than a reliever usually has to, he often shines. The right-hander struck out four batters over 3 1/3 innings and allowed just two hits. He has a 1.02 ERA in outings of two innings or more and has held his opponents scoreless in five of those seven appearances.
“When I come in that situation, I know I had to eat up some innings and kind of help the bullpen out,” Hembree said. “I was just trying to get quality innings and go as far as I could.”
— You have to give credit to Rays starter Drew Smyly, who allowed just one hit with two walks and 11 strikeouts over eight innings against the Red Sox. The left-hander has allowed just one earned run against Boston in his last four starts since the beginning of the 2015 season.
— The Red Sox still are talking about who will take Joe Kelly’s spot in the rotation, but it could be short-lived regardless. Eduardo Rodriguez, who started his season on the DL with a knee injury, is scheduled to throw 70 to 75 pitches Saturday, and the Red Sox’s hope is he’ll join an affiliate club after that.
— Lastly, if you’re worried about the Red Sox after Tuesday’s game, then second baseman Dustin Pedroia has this to say to you.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images