Red Sox

Joe Kelly's 104 mph fastball to Aaron Judge downgraded to 102.2 mph

Joe Kelly's 104 mph fastball to Aaron Judge downgraded to 102.2 mph

NEW YORK — Joe Kelly’s fastball to Aaron Judge came up as an incredible 104 mph on the Yankee Stadium radar gun. The only problem: it might not have been accurate. 

The 2-2 heater was high with tail on the inner half, and awed those who happened to catch the reading. Judge, somehow, fouled the pitch back, and struck out on a slider one pitch later to end the seventh inning.

“It wasn't something I was trying to go up there and trying to blow it out. It was just heat of the moment, high-intensity situation,” Kelly said of the high reading. “Like I said, one of the best hitters in the league. Try to come at him with all my stuff that I have."

Kelly himself didn’t know what the radar gun said until David Price told him.

“That’s pretty amazing,” said closer Craig Kimbrel, who sometimes touches a mere 100 mph. “He’s an unbelievable athlete and I’m sure he’ll let us know about his 104 for the next week or so."

He might not want to do that.

Some time after the Red Sox’ 5-4 win over the Yankees, or toward the very end it, a pitch measured at 103.5 mph (and rounded up to 104) was downgraded to a 102.2 mph pitch. MLB’s Statcast measurements are available via Gameday on

Kelly said in a recent appearance on the CSNNE Baseball Show podcast that he isn’t awed by his velocity.

"I can get a sense, I mean especially at home, when you hear like, a little more cheers in the crowd," Kelly said on the podcast. "I'll peek every once in a while ... but mostly it's me going out there and just trying to see how the hitter reacts to the fastball.

"A lot of guys throw hard and stuff. I wouldn't say I'm in an exclusive fraternity inside of baseball. ... Not going out there thinking, hey, how many guys do this?"

Kelly’s super fastball Tuesday was the fifth pitch of the at-bat. His next pitch was 92.6 mph, per Gameday — and it was a slider, swung on and missed, on the low-outside corner. That was the end of the inning and preserved a 5-3 Red Sox lead at the time.

Judge was the potential tying run after a one-out walk from Kelly to Brett Gardner.

If Sox assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister is right, then Kelly’s pushing the limits of the human arm.

“On average most guys can’t break 103,” Bannister said on the Baseball Show podcast. “But you see more guys getting closer to that on a more consistent basis around the league.”

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

MORE - Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.


Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Blake Swihart’s strong spring seems to have the Red Sox more inclined to deal one of their natural utility infielders, such as Brock Holt or Deven Marrero, rather than Swihart, a converted catcher with high upside who's getting a look in other roles.
"Sounds like they’re holding Swihart to open," a rival executive said. "More likely to move a utility guy."
A true utility guy, that is.


The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that Marrero has been drawing interest from other teams.

"We do have depth with our middle infielders," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. "However, [I] would not get into potential trade discussions."
Swihart, who turns 26 on April 3, is most valuable as a catcher. But he could still be useful in a bench role for the 2018 Red Sox, and a win-now mentality may be the driving force here. (It is possible, as well, that there is nothing available via trade for Swihart that has piqued the Sox’ interest. Marrero or Holt wouldn’t require as much in return.)
The potential drawback is that Swihart won’t grow much if he’s not playing every day -- and in particular, if he's not catching every day. But the Sox may be be at a juncture where they feel his bat is a worthwhile experiment off the bench, at least for this season. They can figure out his future -- and their future at backstop -- later.
"He’s a great athlete," Cora told reporters on Sunday. "We’ve seen it in the batter’s box. It’s not only the results, but the way he’s driving the ball to left field as a left-hander, the quality of at-bats as a right-hander. [On Saturday], as a pinch-hitter, that kid was throwing 99 and he throws a breaking ball and squares a ball up."
Swihart entered Monday with a .283 average in Grapefruit League play, with a .905 OPS and a pair of home runs. But he does not have the infield experience that Marrero or Holt has, and the Red Sox essentially have to carry one of those two to start the year. 
Eduardo Nunez, the temporary replacement for Dustin Pedroia, is coming off a knee injury, and a sure-handed infielder -- Marrero’s glove is particularly good -- is a must. Rafael Devers is still coming into his own at third base. 
Tzu-Wei Lin is available in the minors too, and the Sox could see some redundancy with him, Holt and Marrero. Lin, unlike Marrero, has minor league options remaining. Lin also has some limited outfield experience.
The way the Sox roster looks now, they have two spots available for the three guys: Marrero, Holt and Swihart. Health can change that. Holt, despite being the most veteran of the group, has minor league options remaining, so he theoretically could go to Triple-A to start the season. But if the Sox don't see a role for him on this year's team any way, they'd be wiser trading him, considering he's due to make $2.225 million. It also would be kindest choice for Holt, to let him have an opportunity elsewhere, if one exists.


Swihart has played first base, third base and left field in addition to catching this spring. Perhaps, in time, there will be a way to work Swihart in behind the plate for the Sox. At the least, retaining him would be insurance if Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon do not perform well offensively.
There was a clear personal-catcher system for the Red Sox in 2017. Leon was Chris Sale’s guy, for example. Manager Alex Cora said he is not taking that approach. As an auxiliary effect, moving away from a personal-catcher system might make it easier for Swihart to receive more time behind the plate, if called on.
"Whoever I feel comfortable with that day behind the plate, he'll catch," Cora told reporters in Florida. "Christian already caught him. Sandy's going to catch him today. And then the next turn, Christian's going to catch him. Everybody's going to work with everybody."