Kelly lasted just 2 1/3 innings Wednesday -- his shortest outing of the season that wasn't cut short by an injury. The right-hander allowed seven hits and seven runs, walked three and struck out one against Baltimore. It was his second straight early exit after throwing 4 2/3 innings and allowing five runs in a 7-5 loss in Toronto on May 27. Kelly has an 8.46 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in six starts this season.
"I wasn't commanding the baseball at all," said Kelly, who threw 59 pitches, 32 for strikes. "Obviously from the walks and falling behind hitters, it was just a lack of fastball command again where I wasn't putting the ball where it needed to be. And from there, falling behind hitters and trying to get back into counts, and it just wasn't happening for me."
Kelly spent a month on the disabled list with right shoulder impingement, returning May 21 and tossing 6 1/3 innings of one-hit ball in a 9-1 win against Cleveland. Kelly said he feels fine physically and that his command issues are not related to any prior injuries.
"When he came back, it didn't look like he was overthrowing," manager John Farrell said. "He was staying in his delivery well, there was a consistent effort and energy within it that allowed him to command the fastball. That has not been the case these last two times out. And that's an area that has been kind of the nemesis of Joe -- blessed with a golden arm and tremendous stuff, but the execution of it has not been as consistent in those games like he's shown previously."
With three days off in the next 12 days, the Red Sox won't need a fifth starter during that stretch, so they opted to shore up their bullpen with Ramirez. The 26-year-old has a 5.79 ERA in nine games with Boston this season.
Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.