Joe Kelly Saves the Red Sox Postseason Chances

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Joe Kelly Saves the Red Sox Postseason Chances

Andrew McSheffery, Senior Sports Contributor

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If you haven’t heard by now, the Red Sox have won the World Series. Their dominance dated all the way back to Spring Training, where they had the best record in the league. The Red Sox ended their regular season with 108 wins, the highest total in their 117 years of existence. They were led by multiple MVP candidates in Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, as well as the best pitcher in the American League, Chris Sale. On top of these all-stars, the Red Sox roster consists of two former Cy Young Award winners, arguably the best closer baseball has seen since the retirement of Mariano Rivera, and a plethora of young, talented hitters. Going into the postseason, the Red Sox roster was stacked to the brim with these players, who many thought would lead the Sox to a long and successful postseason run. In fact, the only doubt that anybody had was their seemingly disastrous bullpen (other than Kimbrel). After a few innings of the first game, it seemed as if the Red Sox were going to continue their trend of utter dominance. In the first inning, J.D. Martinez smacked a homer over the Monster to put the Sox up by three. Additionally, Chris Sale was mowing down the Yankees with 8 strikeouts through 5 innings. However, after he was pulled, the bullpen proceeded to give up 4 runs, and the Red Sox narrowly escaped, winning 5-4. It seemed as though the doubts of the critics were coming to fruition.

In game 2 of the ALDS, the Yankees got a quick 3-0 lead after former Cy Young winner, and professional postseason bum, David Price gave up two home runs in 1.2 innings. This forced Red Sox to rely on the bullpen yet again, a night after they had gotten smacked around. However, this time they called in Joe Kelly, the man who took on the whole Yankees team in a brawl in April. In that game, Kelly threw Tyler Austin to the ground in defense of his teammate, Brock Holt. On top of these uncanny fighting skills, Kelly throws his fastball over 100 MPH consistently and has a changeup so filthy that it is blocked by the school wifi. Obviously, one could understand why the Yankees would be shaken to the core by this man. He went on to dominate the Yankees over 2 and a third innings, letting up no runs. Despite that being the only game that Kelly pitched that series, it set the tone for the rest of the bullpen, which was absolutely dominant after game 2. In fact, Kelly’s literal fighting spirit carried over to teammate Ryan Brasier, who got into a shouting match with Gary Sanchez because he was taking too long at the plate.

However, Joe Kelly was facing a real challenger in the proceeding series, in the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros. Despite this worthy adversary, Kelly’s dominance carried over to the ALCS where he all but shut them down. Unfortunately, the Astros did score a meaningless run against Kelly in Game 4. Kelly ultimately picked up the win in that game. Kelly went 4 innings that series with a 1-1 record (the loss due to an abysmal fielding error by Eduardo Nunez) and allowed 1 earned run. Again, following by example, the Red Sox bullpen dominated the Astros, proceeding to win the series in five games. This brings us to the World Series, the premier stage in sports. Certainly, under all this pressure, Joe Kelly, a player who barely made the postseason roster, would choke.


In the World Series, Kelly threw at least an inning in every game, each as dominant as the last. In the most important games of his life, Kelly went a combined six innings, striking out ten, and allowed no runs. This postseason, Kelly was 2-1, with a 0.79 ERA, and single-handedly fixed the struggling Red Sox bullpen.

However, even an unabashed Joe Kelly lover like myself can’t ignore other contributors to this historic World Series run. Nobody can look past the efforts of Aaron Judge, the Yankees phenom whose colossal ego led to the downfall of the Yankees this year. After beating the Red Sox in game 2 of the ALDS to tie up the series at one game apiece, Judge walked past the Red Sox locker room blaring Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”. Judge’s actions were promptly followed up by the largest postseason loss in Yankees history, as the Sox won Game 3 16-1. The finishing blow came the following day, as the Red Sox put an end to the Yankees’ season and celebrated by joining together in a harmonious rendition of Sinatra’s “New York, New York”. They also celebrated their World Series victory in very similar fashion. Another key contributor to this run was MVP candidate Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros. Going into Game 3 of the ALCS, Bregman posted a video on Instagram of the Astros hitting back to back to back home runs off of probable starter, and Red Sox ace, Nathan Eovaldi. Bregman quickly realized his mistake and deleted the video, though it was too little too late. The Red Sox had already seen the video, which undoubtedly fired them up, and proceeded to sweep the Astros at their home stadium, with a stellar performance from Eovaldi. Far more important than both of these factors put together, was the true motivation behind the Red Sox success this season. Everybody on the team, and around Boston knew that the Sox had to avenge a fallen hero, former slugger Ryan Kalish. At the beginning of the season, Kalish (the greatest player to ever put on a uniform) was forced to retire due to a series of nagging injuries. The Red Sox knew that this was the year that they had to win the World Series as a thank you to Kalish for his years of selfless service to the team. Though Kalish’s legacy is unrivaled, Joe Kelly is making a strong case for himself to take over Kalish’s spot as the face of baseball.


Andrew McSheffery is a beat writer and sports contributor on the Spinnaker. He’s also the fastest man in the world, even though he had a metal rod in his leg for over a year which slowed him down a bit.