Kelly effective but still needs efficiency

Kelly effective but still needs efficiency

Credit: Getty Images

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 05: Joe Kelly #58 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game at PNC Park April 5, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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by Brian Feldman / BaseballStL | @BFeldman

KMOV.com

Posted on April 5, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Updated Sunday, Apr 6 at 6:42 PM

(BaseballStL) -- Saturday night was a typical Joe Kelly start.  Get into trouble.  Make a big pitch to get out of said trouble.  But because of previously mentioned trouble he throws too many pitches to go deep into game.

Rinse.  Repeat.

There’s nothing wrong with going 5.1 innings in a big league start when you give up just one run.  Heck, that’s a 1.69 ERA.  Every manager in baseball would take that.  But let’s be honest.  This is the St. Louis Cardinals and we as a fan base are kind of spoiled.  So forgive us if we nitpick and are perfectionists.

There’s always something someone can do better.

And for Kelly, it’s his efficiency.  He walks four Pirates in the second of the three game set at PNC Park en route to a solid-but-unspectacular day on the mound.  It’s not just the walks either.  It’s the constant three ball counts that he goes to on hitters.

To be a true great pitcher in baseball you can’t just stop the other team from scoring.  You need to go deep into games to save the bullpen from getting taxed.  Maybe Kelly isn’t a great pitcher.  Maybe he’s just a nice regular season hurler who gives way to the big arms like Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and eventually Carlos Martinez and Shelby Miller in October.

That’s okay.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  You can make a nice living in baseball doing just that.

But if you consistently need to come out of the game in the fifth or sixth inning that’s going to cause issues for the bullpen at some point. 

It’s a long season and there’s no way you can judge Kelly’s performance for a season based on one game.  There’s still plenty of time to find that necessary efficiency he seeks.

    

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