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Reliever Joe Kelly Talks Early Struggles With Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers’ reliever Joe Kelly was supposed to be a stabilizing force when he signed with the team as a free agent. However through two appearances, Kelly’s performance has been abhorrent. In fact, one may be surprised to know that no; Kelly is not suffering from whiplash from all of the hard hit balls to the deep part of the park he’s surrendered.

As a Dodger, Kelly has thrown three innings. Within those three innings he’s allowed seven hits, one walk, six earned runs, and two home runs. First, Kelly takes full responsibility for the Dodgers not being an undefeated ball club. He talked with Michael Duarte after Monday night’s loss to the Giants.

Kelly knows he has to locate better.

Kelly allowed a home run to Brandon Belt, and then a game-tying single to Pablo Sandoval. However, he says things aren’t as out of alignment as some fans might believe.

“I threw it right in his honey-hole, but I felt a lot better today. Command of my pitches was a lot better. Prior to the outing earlier, everything is coming out crisp.”

Look, I get it. Kelly has not been the same guy who mowed through the Dodgers’ lineup in the 2018 Fall Classic. Indeed, it seems unfair to sign the guy and get this version. Still, I would be willing to bet that he hasn’t completely lost what has helped him find big league success. It’s entirely possible that Kelly gets hot with the summer weather and goes a month stretch where he allows just a run or two.

It’s fine to be frustrated with his performance – but my opinion is to not overreact overreact to two outings. Be patient with Kelly and the rest of the Dodger bullpen. They should right the ship at the right time.

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Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

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  1. I don’t know Clint………but between Dave’s love for “Peety” Baez and trying to fit Joe Kelly into a role that does not seem to fit him, our bullpen looks like our Achilles heel again this year. One would think that the Dodger brass would have realized after last season that the bullpen is our weak spot and done something more than adding Kelly (4+ run ERA) to address the problem. Kelly may or may not pan out, but right now he reminds of me of the last 3.5 months last season, when he was with the Sox. Back then he was giving up hits in his appearances so frequently they no longer trusted him and they (the Sox) almost left him off the playoff roster. He looks like that guy all over again, not the guy who dominated the Dodgers in the world series. One thing of note……..I remember Alex Cora saying exactly this about Kelly………”We’re going to put him in situations that we feel fit him, and hopefully he can turn around.”……….Dave Roberts apparently did not get that memo.

  2. I give Kelly credit for his taking the blame for the only 2 losses – they are both completely on him – but unless he turns things around, Freidman should not wait until midseason to get rid of Kelly and get SOMEONE who can do the job. Nothing crushes a team more than for one loser to destroy general success, as Darvish did in the 2017 WS.

  3. I didn’t know what Kelly meant with his “I threw it right in his honey-hole.” I was thinking this was some kind of “colorful metaphor” or derogatory term. Basically he was saying he “grooved the pitch for him.” If I’m wrong, please correct me. Regardless, I hope he will earn his salary, because after seeing Baez and Jensen did Not exactly lessen my apprehension about the 2019 Dodgers relief corp.

  4. Well first off, the Dodgers will NOT get to the PS with the BP as it is without some improvement going forward. And Robert’s ‘love ‘ for Baez and running him out there in crucial situations over and over expecting different results is way beyond me.

  5. The relief corp is itself in need of relief!!!! Where is Gonsolin or some of our other “wunderkinds”. Trotting Baez and Garcia and Kelly out every night and hoping the result will change makes no sense. I needed to say that even though my good buddy PaulDodgerFan1965 stated it above. Go Blue!!

  6. I think Joe Kelly is lights out. 2 games and alot of people are crucifying him. He just needs to get acclamated and he will turn things around. New ballclub, new environment. I believe he is PRESSING big time. He will be MONEY WHEN THE TIME COMES….. HANG IN THERE JOE!!!

  7. Watching the ninth inning was truly trifling. I love the Dodgers, but must admit that I am cringing whenever the bull pen appears. Our offense has to score like crazy just to offset the runs that the bull pen will inevitably give up at the end of the game. I definitely do not blame Joe Kelly (he’s in “good company”), but I am waiting to see remnants of what we faced during the World Series.

  8. pitching staff,,,,,,,,,,,,,2 on DL…2 with innings limit does not make for a good road trip either.

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