David Price isn’t the only member of the Boston Red Sox enjoying a postseason renaissance.
Reliever Joe Kelly recorded another dominant scoreless inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night at Fenway Park, striking out two of the three batters he faced in the seventh inning of Game 2 of the World Series.
Kelly’s efforts, which helped the Red Sox secure a 4-2 win and take a 2-0 series lead, continued an impressive run of success for the hard-throwing right-hander. After posting a 4.39 ERA during a rocky regular season, Kelly has allowed just one earned run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings pitched this postseason, striking out seven while walking none.
So, Joe: How does it feel to find your groove when it matters most?
“To be able to contribute and not stink is refreshing,” Kelly said after Wednesday’s game, via MassLive.com.
Not stinking = refreshing. Can’t argue with that.
Kelly’s 180 happened pretty quickly, too: He posted an ugly 8.31 ERA over 12 outings in the month of September before finally regaining his mojo in October. The most notable difference has been his improved command; he recorded five walks and hit two batters during those 12 appearances but has yet to issue a free pass this postseason.
That sharpened control has allowed Kelly’s always-impressive pitch arsenal to shine. In fact, he was so dialed in Wednesday night that Red Sox pitcher Brian Johnson had to do a double-take on the changeup Kelly used to strike out Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal to end the seventh inning.
“I came inside to watch that last one when he struck out Grandal on it because I thought he went backdoor slider the way it moved, the way it was caught,” Johnson said, via MassLive.com. “Joe painted. It was incredible.”
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images