Joe Kelly – Another Tough Luck Loss
By James Benoit
Joe Kelly has had the most rotten luck of any St. Louis Cardinals starter this year. The Redbirds offense seems to sputter when he pitches, even when he tosses a quality start. Today was no exception, as the Cardinals suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Cubs.
Joe Kelly’s start-by-start track certainly passes the eye test, as he has been very solid since his June 10th call-up. Toss out his 4 1/3 inning start against the Kansas City Royals, and he’s gone at least 5 innings, while never allowing more than 3 runs. His last 7 starts have been near mirror images of one another, as they’ve all been 6 innings. Kelly’s fastball has been solid if not dominating, and his off-speed offerings have been improving as well. Another consistent has been the lack of run support. Something of a frustration to him I’m sure, the Redbirds have only scored more than 5 runs of support for him twice. His lone win came in one of those starts. When you hold up your end of the bargain by putting in a quality start, you expect the offense to back you up. For whatever reason, the funk has been a trend.
Another disappointment in this equation is the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals are fighting an uphill battle in the standings. As I write this, the Cincinnati Reds lead the Colorado Rockies 8-5, while the Pittsburgh Pirates hold a 4-3 advantage over the Houston Astros. The standings aren’t baffling, as the Cardinals are just 7 games over the .500 mark. Still, it would be nice to gain ground with wins, and hold their position when they lose. I still find it hard to believe that the Pirates and Reds can continue their torrid pace, but there are no signs of either team letting off the gas. The one positive in all of this though is that the Cardinals have remaining series against both teams.
If only the Cardinals could catch a break that would lead to a rise in the standings, I think they wouldn’t waste the chance to take the division crown. A few bounces is all it takes, and once those bounces start going in the Redbirds direction, I’m confident that they’ll be postseason bound. It’s nice to see that though they have lost ground in the standings, the overall mood in the clubhouse is positive. All things considered, Joe Cool and Company have a great look to them. Keep in mind that a first-year manager is at the helm, Chris Carpenter is down and out, and many of the Cardinals regulars have spent pretty significant time on the DL.
Just think, the farm system is well-stocked with talent (Kolten Wong and Oscar Taveras to name a few); Matheny is learning quickly; and the St. Louis Cardinals have that winning culture always at the forefront. I’m looking forward to the rubber match tomorrow with the Cubs, which will hopefully be the start of yet another winning streak.