The Red Sox will finish their series with the Orioles on Sunday afternoon, as Joe Kelly will pitch against Miguel Gonzalez for the second time this month.
Kelly (4-4, 2.28 ERA) was victorious in his outing against the Royals last Sunday Kauffman Stadium. He gave up four runs in the second inning, including a three-run home run by Eric Hosmer, but he recovered to pitch six innings and did not allow a hit after the one bad frame. A three-run home run from Xander Bogaerts and a grand slam from Daniel Nava paved the way for Kelly’s win.
Manager John Farrell liked the way Kelly came back to pitch effectively after a rough second inning.
“He had a five-hitter span where they did a pretty good job of getting into some fastball counts, and I think after the second inning he and David [Ross] clearly made an adjustment by using his curveball a little bit more,” Farrell said. “He’s got such electric stuff that he settled in and pitched a solid six innings for us.”
Over his past four outings, Kelly has pitched at least six innings and has not been charged with more than four runs in a single start. Though he did not record a win through his first two months with the Red Sox, the right-hander has posted a 2-1 record with a 4.74 ERA in three September starts.
His only loss in the month, however, came against the Orioles. Kelly gave up three runs over six innings on Sept. 8. He didn’t get any help from the Red Sox defense, which committed three errors. The Red Sox bats did him no favors either, as they were shut out by Gonzalez in that one.
Gonzalez (9-8, 3.28 ERA) pitched 6 1/3 innings that day, allowing six hits but no runs. He and the rest of the bullpen teamed up to shut out the Red Sox in the Baltimore win. The pitcher said attacking the Red Sox hitters was a key to victory.
“Staying positive and staying aggressive every time I go out there and not do too much,” Gonzalez said after the start. “Especially like today, it was a big zone. I thought we made some good plays behind me. Everybody they did their job.”
In his last start against the Yankees last Saturday, Gonzalez took the loss after he allowed three runs in six innings of work. The Yankees used a three-run second inning in which Gonzalez allowed a Brian McCann solo home run and a Chris Young steal of home to beat the Orioles.
Despite getting optioned twice to Triple-A, Gonzalez has put together a fine season when he’s been with the major league club. Since the All-Star break, he’s compiled a 2.12 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He’s been even better in September with a 1.27 ERA and a 2-1 record in three starts.
Daniel Nava has some of the best career number of any Boston hitter against Gonzalez. The switch hitter has a .385 average in 13 at-bats. Will Middlebrooks is the only hitter with a home run against the right-hander.
Red Sox vs. Gonzalez (RHP)
Daniel Nava (15 career plate appearances): .385 average/.467 OBP/.462 SLG, 1 double, 2 walks, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout
Mike Napoli (8): .143/.250/.143, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk
David Ortiz (8): .000/.250/.000, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Xander Bogaerts (7): .143/.143/.143, 3 strikeouts
Yoenis Cespedes (6): .400/.500/.400, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Will Middlebrooks (6): .333/.333/.833, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 1 strikeout
David Ross (5): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Brock Holt (4): .250/.250/.250
Mookie Betts (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk
Jackie Bradley (3): .667/.667/1.000, 1 double
Ryan Lavarnway (3): .000/.000/.000
Orioles vs. Kelly (RHP)
Nelson Cruz (7): .500/.571/.500, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Alejandro De Aza (4): .250/.250/.250
Adam Jones (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Nick Markakis (4): .000/.500/.000, 1 walk
Ryan Flaherty (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI
Caleb Joseph (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Steve Pearce (3): .667/.667/.667, 1 RBI
Jonathan Schoop (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Steve Clevenger is 0-for-1 in one plate appearance.