Joe Kelly's Start Last Night Symbolizes a lot more than One Game

(April 12, 2016 - Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)
Evan Marinofsky
Contributing Writer 

5.0 IP, 7 Hits, 2 Runs, 2 Earned Runs, 5 Walks, 6 Strikeouts.

Those numbers right there are Joe Kelly's stat-line from last night's 4-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles. If this weren't coming from a starting pitching staff with the worst ERA in the American League just 8 games in, most would say that's a pretty average start.

But for the Red Sox, who gave up 9 runs in both games prior to this one, were more than pleased to have Kelly go a "strong" 5 innings.

But there's more to Kelly's stats from his start last night. It represents a lot more than just one night.

It represents the goal of all four starters behind David Price: get to the fifth inning, don't give up more than 2-3 runs because the offense can take care of that, and then let the bullpen take it from there.

If somehow Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Kelly, and Steven Wright can make every start look like Kelly's stat line from last night, this team should be all set due to their strong bullpen.

Last night went as advertised:

Kelly went for 5

Matt Barnes, Tommy Lane, and Junichi Tazawa all went 0.2 innings and got the hold.

Koji Uehara held the lead in the eighth.

Craig Kimbrel locked down the lead in the ninth.

Red Sox win.

For the starters behind Price this year, they need to almost be like Tom Brady in the final 1:30 of Super Bowl XXXVI: get to about the fifth or sixth inning and get to within the bullpen's range, just as Brady got to within Adam Vinatieri's range for a game-winning field goal.

Hopefully the memories of Super Bowl XXXVI brightened up your morning just a little bit more.

At any rate, that's the job for the Red Sox starters: get to within the bullpen's range and let them take the final shot.

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