For most of this season the Cardinals did everything they could to avoid putting Joe Kelly into the rotation, using him as a reliever for the first three months.
Injuries finally forced them to move him into the rotation in early July and he’s been fantastic ever since, going 7-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 10 starts. And he’s done that while the rest of the Cardinals’ rotation has fallen apart, with Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch crunching the numbers to find that St. Louis’ non-Kelly starters have gone 19-18 with a 4.76 ERA during that same span.
Kelly’s secondary numbers are very underwhelming, including a 34/25 K/BB ratio in 58 innings and a .241 opponents’ batting average, but he’s served up just four homers in 247 plate appearances and has given up more than two runs just twice in 10 starts.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.