The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly has grown into a behemoth who now gets the “national ace” treatment.
He ranks in the top 10 in most of the major categories for pitchers in the National League (NL). There’s even talk that he could challenge for the Cy Young Award this year.
On April 29, Kelly pitched 6 1/3 innings of one-hit ball against the Boston Red Sox at Chase Field to lead the Rockies to a 4-2 victory.
He has five wins and a 2.41 ERA in six starts since April 29 against the Colorado Rockies. For the season, he is 6-2 with a 2.83 ERA and 69 strikeouts. He is tied for first in the NL in wins, sixth in ERA, 10th in strikeouts, seventh in WHIP (1.07), third in batting average (.182) and eighth in innings pitched (63⅔). It’s been his most dominant performance since making his major league debut in 2019.
In particular, he struck out 10 batters against Boston. It’s the second time this season that Kelly has recorded double-digit strikeouts in a game, with the first coming on April 6 against the Washington Nationals (7 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 10 K). He didn’t have a 10-strikeout game last year.
It’s worth noting that six of the 10 strikeouts were “walks,” meaning the batter was thrown out without swinging the bat.
Boston manager Alex Cora said, “That’s what pitching is all about. “We put good hitters out there and worked full counts, and we just got beat by his pitches. He throws a mix of pitches, and in this day and age of power pitches, his command is perfect. It’s like watching Greg Maddux when he throws it the way he wants it. It’s like watching Greg Maddux when he throws it the way he wants it,” he said.
Maddux had one of the best fastballs in Major League Baseball history. It’s no coincidence that he’s gotten so many strikeouts with his off-speed pitches and precise delivery.
On the day, Kelly threw 108 pitches. He had six different pitches. He threw a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a cutter, a changeup, a curve, and a slider. He threw 63 pitches from the four-seam, sinker, and cutter family, topping out at 94.9 mph and averaging 92.8 mph. That’s three pitches with similar velocities but very different trajectories. Add to that four sliders, which he rarely used until last year, and you’ve got the makings of an “eight-pitch arsenal.
“None of Kelly’s pitches are remarkable, but he puts them together nicely,” MLB.com wrote, “and when you see how he’s done against a hard-hitting team like Boston, it’s easy to see why he’s been a key part of Arizona’s staff since returning from Korea ahead of the 2019 season.메이저사이트
In five appearances in the month of May, Kelly pitched 31.1 innings in four wins, a 2.59 ERA, 39 strikeouts, a 0.83 WHIP, and a 0.170 batting average. It’s the second Pitcher of the Month honor of his career. Kelly was named NL Pitcher of the Month last August. He had four wins and a 1.31 ERA in six games.
Now it’s time for Zach Galen to take over as Arizona’s ace. Galen has started May with a 2-1 record, 4.03 ERA, 24 strikeouts, 1.34 WHIP, and a .263 batting average in 29 innings pitched in five games, a significant regression from April (4-1, 2.15, 51 Ks).