My lastest work for BP Boston went up at the site on Tuesday. I looked into a puzzling trend that has emerged when Joe Kelly pitches: He fairly regularly gets to two-strikes on opposing batters but is then unable to retire them via the strikeout. My analysis of the relation between two-strike pitch rate and two-strike strikeout rate shows that Kelly has exhibited this frustrating pattern to one of the most extreme extents in all of baseball this season. It can be maddening to watch him throw 100 mph with seemingly little effort – easy cheese as Dennis Eckersley would say – but not be able to regularly locate it well enough and/or get batters to swing and miss. Interestingly enough, Kelly’s bullpenmate Heath Hembree is also fairly extreme with this pattern of struggling to get the third strike after getting the second. Ideally, for Red Sox fans anyway, both work on developing their put-away pitch and start increasing the strikeout totals.
Read the complete piece at BP Boston: When the Strikeout Never Comes
Note: This article was reposted to Baseball Prospectus’ main page for the weekend, which was an exciting development.