The Dodgers have made it a habit over the last few weeks to mix in bullpen games fairly often. Brusdar Graterol has had a few opportunities to start games as a result, and Alex Wood also got his shot.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Dodgers announced that they would once again be going to a bullpen game. Joe Kelly will make the start against Oakland tonight over scheduled starter Julio Urias. This will be Kelly’s first start since 2016 with the Red Sox.
The #Dodgers will start Joe Kelly tonight against Oakland
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) September 23, 2020
This will also be Joe’s fourth appearance since he was activated from the injured list and served out his 5-game suspension. In those 3 appearances, he hasn’t allowed a hit or walk while striking out a pair of batters in a combined 1.2 innings for the Dodgers.
Overall, it’s been a pretty odd year for Joe Kelly. He made national headlines with the incident in Houston, and since then hasn’t appeared much. Injuries and the suspension have limited him to just 8 innings total in 2020. But in those 8 innings for the Dodgers, Kelly’s pitch mix has also been wild.
Kelly’s curveball percentage has always been decently high, but he’s taken it to a whole new level in 2020. He has utilized that pitch almost 60 percent of the time, up from 36.5 percent in 2019. In fact, Kelly came in and threw all curveballs to the lone batter he faced last night. Whatever the Dodgers are doing with his pitch mix, it appears to be working out okay.
On the Julio Urias front, Roberts said this move was done in part to get a look at potential optionality for the upcoming playoffs. Despite having five healthy starters, LA may look outside the box as the club looks to win its first World Series since 1988.