The eighth inning of the Boston Red Sox’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day didn’t go exactly as planned.
Led by Chris Sale’s stellar outing, the Sox were cruising as the game neared its end. They led 4-0 in the penultimate inning and turned to Joe Kelly to bridge the gap to the ninth after Matt Barnes threw a shutout seventh inning in relief.
Instead, the righty had an absolute meltdown.
Kelly walked a trio while allowing an RBI double, only recording one out before he loaded the bases and forced Carson Smith to try and clean up the inning. Smith failed as well, and when the dust settled, the two relievers combined to allow six runs in the dreadful inning.
Following the game, Kelly gave a pretty candid assessment of the disastrous outing.
“It was just one of those things that I can live with getting hit around a little bit, but when you let that many hitters on base with a free pass, first of all, it’s going to end up biting you in the butt,” Kelly told reporters following the game, via WEEI.com. “Second, it’s the most frustrating part, especially when the guys in front of you threw the ball so well and we were playing a great ballgame.
“Guys were hitting the ball, playing good (defense), and to come in there and do that doesn’t feel too good,” the reliever continued. “Let’s just say that’s probably the worst it can get. Have to come back here tomorrow and get ready to go.”
He didn’t stop there, though. Arguably the harshest criticism of his performance came when he called his collapse “pathetic.”
“There’s always, ‘could’ve tried this, could’ve done that,'” Kelly said. “At the end of the day, that’s pretty pathetic what I did. Can’t do that. I don’t think I’ve ever done it and it’s probably going to be the last time.”
While his performance certainly was poor, Kelly at least took accountability for it. He clearly didn’t have his best stuff, and he paid for it. But it is at least somewhat encouraging looking forward that he is aware of it, didn’t mince words and is ready to move on.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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