Three things we learned about Red Sox Tuesday night

Three things we learned about Red Sox Tuesday night
August 13, 2014, 10:15 am
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Three things we learned in the Red Sox 3-2 win over the Reds Tuesday night.

1) Joe Kelly is a competitor.

Kelly doesn't have blow-away stuff and he doesn't strike a lot of people out. He doesn't dominate or light up radar guns.
     
But in two starts with the Red Sox since being obtained from St. Louis, it's clear that Kelly battles.
     
He gets tougher with runners in scoring position, limits big innings and manages his way through a lineup.
     
He displayed some early wildness with seven straight balls and two walks to start the game. But he didn't let the game get away from him, hanging in to throw six innings, the final five of which were shutout frames.
     
Kelly may not profile any higher than a No. 3 starter, and the Red Sox will have to make at least one -- if not two -- significant acquisitions this winter to make their rotation capable of competing for a playoff spot.
     
Moreover, from among the group of younger pitching prospects, one or two will have to step forward and continue their development at the big league level.
     
But Tuesday night was a vivid reminder that there's real value in a middle-of-the-rotation starter who's tough and will give your team a chance to win far more times than not.

     
2) Daniel Nava's presence in the lineup should be limited over the final six weeks.
     
Sure, Nava had a big double that resulted in the Red Sox scoring their first run of the night. But playing Nava over either Brock Holt or Jackie Bradley Jr. is counterproductive at this point.
     
The Red Sox know who Nava is: a decent platoon outfielder who can get on base against righthanders.
     
What Nava isn't is a regular on a good team. And for whatever reason, he's seemingly lost his ability to drive the ball. The double Tuesday night was just his 11th extra-base hit in 230 at-bats, resulting in a paltry .313 slugging percentage.
     
That's a signficant comedown from last year's .443 slugging percentage. More and more, the 2013 season from Nava is beginning to look like an outlier.
     
Nava has some value. Through hard work, he's made himself at least an average outfielder, one who's capable of even playing right field in Fenway for short stretches.
     
But with Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr., Shane Victorino and Brock Holt all under control for 2015, it's hard to see how Nava fits in to the Red Sox' future.
    
     
3) It's Anthony Ranaudo's time to shine
     
Ranaudo is being given a start Wednesday afternoon in the road trip finale in Cincinnati, part of the audition process for next year.
     
Ranuado had enjoyed a superb season in Pawtucket (13-4, 2.58) and has little left to prove at Triple A. The only peripheral numbers that cause any concern is the 3.6 walks per nine innings, higher than you would like.
     
But there's competition going on for the 2015 rotation and it's worth noting that Brandon Workman has been skipped for this start in favor of Ranaudo.
     
The Sox made a reference to Workman's workload this season, but he's pitched just 117 1/3 innings, hardly a number to alarm anyone.
     
Workman's performance at the big league level has been a disappointment. He's lost his last six outings and has a habit of rocky first innings, with 12 runs allowed in 10 innings.
     
It's hard not to come to the conclusion that Workman has regressed this season, going from someone who was trusted enough to pitch the eighth inning of a clinching World Series game to someone the Sox are skipping in the rotation in a season in which wins and losses are no longer the main objective.
     
There's at least one spot for a young pitcher to claim in the 2015. Wednesday, Ranaudo gets a chance to improve on the fine impression he already made with his major league debut 11 days ago against the Yankees and get a head start on that spot.

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