Thursday, August 1, 2013

Why did the Cardinals wait so long to use Joe Kelly in the rotation?

What took you so long?

That is the question many Cardinals fans are probably asking John Mozeliak and Mike Matheny after Joe Kelly turned in another strong performance tonight, leading the Cards to victory over the Pirates and ending the team's 7-game skid.

Kelly pitched 6 scoreless innings, giving up just 3 hits and striking out 4.  Although he also walked 4 hitters, he kept the ball on the ground, inducing 7 groundouts to just 3 flyouts, including one double-play. Oh, and he also went 2 for 3 at the plate, scoring a run.

After losing the 5th starter battle to Shelby Miller in the spring, the Cardinals decided to use Kelly in a long relief role instead of letting him start in the minors to keep him stretched out.  The result was that he was used very little--just 18.2 innings through May, and was ineffective when he was used.

Around that time, with both Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook on the D.L., the Cardinals should have sent Kelly down to AAA to stretch him out and get him back on track.  Instead, the team used a steam of 3 different rookies (John Gast, Tyler Lyons and Michael Wacha) to fill in, before finally turning to Kelly when they were in a pinch.

After making an emergency start on June 5th, in which he lasted 5.2 innings, despite not being stretched out, while giving up only 2 runs (1 earned), the Cardinals finally must have realized that Kelly was a capable starter, because, shortly after they decided to demote Wacha back to AAA to protect his arm, Kelly was named as the 5th starter (almost by default).

So far, Kelly has sparkled in the starting role.  He is 2-1 as a starter, with a 1.84 ERA in 5 starts.  He has allowed 2 or less runs in 4 of those starts, with his only clunker a 6 inning, 4 run effort against the Marlins. 

In addition, its not as if Kelly was terrible as a starter last year.  He compiled a 3.74 ERA in 16 starts. Put it all together and Kelly has a 6-7 record with a 3.28 ERA in 21 starts in the big leagues. Not too bad for the former college closer.

So, why did the Cardinals wait so long to use Kelly in the rotation?  We may never find out the true answer to that question.  But I'm glad he's there now and hopefully he'll continue to convince the team that he should stay there.


  1. Great performance when they needed it. Never count out the Cards and don't question managers decisions. There is still a lot of baseball left and the coming August schedule looks tough with two series each with Pirates, Reds, Atlanta and one with the Dodgers. Let's see if they hold together in August. within 5 games Sep 1, they are in the playoffs.

  2. the cardinals did not use JOE KELLY as a starter because MO and MIKE are not fit for their jobs.MIOKE sits in the dugout hugging himself with his arms crossed and MO. is busy sucking on the straw in the bottle he is drinking from.MIKE has no prior experience as a coach or manager evev in the minors.they are both jerks.
    JERKS do not win anything.
    JOE in PA.

    1. Thanks Joe. Always good to hear from a Pirates fans.

    2. They thought that the rookie talent could step right in, but found out that more people attend pro games than minor league games and that they could not handle they pressure. Kelly had to experience this last year but had a more veteran staff around him. Now, he has the maturity, experience and arm strength to contribute. He would have been the foundation of middle relief but has the composure to be the starter and I believe this will now be his permanent role.