Rookie pitcher Joe Kelly has been a pleasant surprise this year, subbing for the injured Jaime Garcia and giving the Cardinals a chance to win each of his seven starts to date.
But there was a point last season when his current success didnt look possible.
Kelly started 2011 at High-A Palm Beach, where he went 5-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 12 starts before earning a promotion to Double-A Springfield. But soon after he turned 23 last June, things started to go sour with his new team.
As the innings started to mount and the summer heat got hotter, Kelly began to struggle. He walked too many batters. He gave up an unusually high number of hits. His season, and potentially his career, had taken a turn for the worse.
I lost it and got away from my routine, Kelly said during a recent interview with FOXSportsMidwest.com. I wouldnt say I stopped working out and stuff but I wasnt as mentally tough last year as this year and it got to me. I wasnt mentally tuned out but I was just a little lackad...