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Dodgers Postseason: Joe Kelly Talks Kendrick Grand Slam, Loss

A tough pill to swallow.

Dodgers
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Joe Kelly #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays at Dodger Stadium on September 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. The Rays won in the 11th inning 8-7. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

I wasn’t ready for this. Nevertheless, we do Dodgers news around here. After the Dodgers stumbled late and fell to the Washington Nationals 7-3 in 10 innings, blame was cast all around. Dave Roberts found himself firmly in the spotlight. Clayton Kershaw outright blames himself. However, Joe Kelly was the man on the mound when the worst case became reality.

Surely after walking the leadoff batter the manager would look to another arm hastily — Kelly did just mow down 3 Nats in an impressive 10 pitch 9th inning — but Joe remained in to allow a 2-2 double before an intentional walk loaded the bases with none out for Howie Kendrick.

Inexplicably, Kelly was tasked to pitch to Kendrick. And that was how the Dodgers 2019 season ended.

After the game, Kelly faced the media about the nightmare 10th.

Yeah, I didn’t have the command from inning one to inning two. It’s one of those things that… had some pretty good at-bats, obviously. And then Howie — the fastball — left it too much plate trying to go in. He put a good swing and obviously got the homer.

Immediately, you ask and wonder if a pitcher might be more open with his manager about how he’s feeling. Still, Kelly was left in the game to face TWO more batters. At this point you wonder if the whole team was plainly shell shocked.

And with the outing, it bookended the right-hander’s generally bad first season in a Dodger uniform. Signed in the off-season to help lift this Los Angeles franchise — one he just helped defeat in the 2018 World Series — to the next level, he instead served up the final blow and ended his 2019 postseason with a 23.14 ERA.

On the idea of coming to LA to help the oft-maligned bullpen only to ultimately stumble, Kelly was short with it.

It sucks. It’s not a good feeling. You got 25 — even more with the guys that weren’t on the roster — in this clubhouse who strap on every day. You know, we had a great regular season and obviously fell short.

It’s definitely sad, some of these guys won’t ever play baseball again — Some guys might retire… it’s one of those things where it wasn’t the lack of effort, the lack of talent — we had the talent — we just got beat.

While no one has openly come out with the retirement announcement, several Dodgers mentioned the potential for teammates retiring.

If that indeed is the case, they deserved better. They put in the work to earnย better. And it’s unfortunate that they’re season ends, and careers may end, on the part of concerns we had all season long. Homer prone Kershaw. Joe Kelly not being the same guy they signed. Dave Roberts inability to make the right moves more often than not when they matter the most.

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

13 Comments

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  1. If Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers are so much into analytics, Joe Kelly has an ERA of 11.37 when pitching over one inning this season. Then why the heck would you put him out there for two innings in the most important game of the season? Again, nothing Dave Roberts does makes any common sense in crucial situations.

    • His social skills are his Asian side but his decision making ability is definitely his African American side

      • Can you expound a little more on that opinion? I’m sure there are alot of us who would like to know just how much of a racist you are.

  2. Ths Dodgers DID NOT have the talent. I was probably the only guy stressing about the three run lead after two innings last night. I figured our boys would pack it in the rest of the way, and offensively, we did exactly that. This is not on Kershaw. He is what he is now. This is on the boom or bust offense. All season long, boom or bust. It is so irritating to listen to commentators gush about this powerful, relentless, elite offense. To me, this is guys who cant make consistent contact. Against elite pitching, relentless contact approach at the plate is a must. If you don’t have that, then you have to rely on lockdown pitching, and beyond Buehler, we didn’t have that either. In a certain, tragic way, I’m glad we dont have to suffer a third consecutive world series loss. LA fans deserve better. Replace Friedman and Roberts now.

    • I agree alot of people thought that a 3run lead in the 2nd innings was enough. Yes we need more contact hitters like Jt and Verdugo. Kike’s real abilities are being wasted, why is he not being trsined to be a contact line drive hitter? Kershaw? Yes he got lit up, but as Muncy said it was a team loss, hitters, pitchers, coaching decisions. I don’t agree that Friedman should move on though. As for Roberts? I’ll leave that up to Friedman and Kasten to decide.

      • Kasten wouldn’t support getting rid of Roberts. He wants the Dodgers to continue to win the “162” and lose in the playoffs until they make everyone forget the Braves post season ineptitude.

  3. Roberts continues to make horrible pitching decisions in the post season.. CK gave up more homers than ever in a season. Roberts still treats him like he is the best pitcher in baseball, when he is not. He did a fine job getting Eaton, for the third out in the 7th. Maeda has been outstanding and should have been brought in for 8th and maybe 9th. Roberts got away with Kelly in 8th (never threw a fastball, all knuckle curves), but as bad as he has been all season and in game 4, should have replaced him. Why have confidence in Kelly, just because he handled Dodgers in last WS? He has professed confidence in Jansen all season, yet he leaves in Kelly too long, when BAD Kelly has obviously re-appeared!! In hindsight, the free agent signings of Pollock and Kelly were just awful!!

  4. I’m surprised and disgusted by the lack of outrage at Kelly from Dodger fans. He alone lost game 5 and cancelled the whole season. Even more sickening were his post-game comments – taking no responsibility for his failure. C’mon, Dodger fans, flood management with messages to get rid of this loser.

    • For the most part Kelly is what he has always been, a wildly inconsistent pitcher who had a career week in the 2018 World Series. Expecting more out of him was foolish. Both of the “big” offseason additions proved to be disasters when it mattered most.. That is on the FO.

  5. Joe at least has 28 million ways to console himself. In a few years he will be gone and forgotten and never have to work another day in his life.

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