Dodgers: Kenta Maeda’s importance grows with Joe Kelly ailing
The Dodgers are going to avoid using Joe Kelly for the remainder of the regular season. Kenta Maeda’s importance grows in his absence.
Before the Dodgers battled the Rockies on Saturday night, Dave Roberts said that the Dodgers are going to avoid using Joe Kelly for the remainder of the regular season. Roberts did not pin point a specific injury for Kelly although two weeks ago the LA Times reported that Kelly was dealing with soreness in his legs.
For the Dodgers, the timing could not be worse as the final week of the regular season is upon us. Kelly has ran into some issues over his four innings of work in September but it’s unclear if his latest ailment is the cause for that. Joe has still been one of LA’s better relievers since the June putting aside a rough opening to his Dodger tenure.
Joe Kelly should be back for the postseason although there is no telling if he will be pressed into high leverage situations upon his return. With Kelly’s health now questionable for the postseason, one reliever who could be counted upon more is Kenta Maeda. Kenta has pitched in a setup role before for the Dodgers in the postseason.
More from LA Dodgers News
- Dave Roberts’ quote about Padres in NLDS should motivate Dodgers
- Former Astro seemingly takes uncalled for shot at Cody Bellinger after Cubs deal
- Dodgers’ 2023 lineup without Trea Turner isn’t as impressive as it should be
- Recapping who Dodgers gained and lost in Rule 5 Draft
- Dodgers ironically sign former all-star to potentially replace Cody Bellinger
Despite a 4.05 ERA as a reliever this season, Maeda has pitched better than his ERA indicates holding the opposition to a .170 batting average with a 0.83 WHIP. Including his statistics as a starter, Maeda has held right-handed batters to a .163 average and he could become one of Dave Roberts’ most trusted righties in October.
Pedro Baez is the Dodgers’ other dependable right-handed setup man and of course Kenley Jansen has had his struggles this season. Kenta helped close out a game against the Mets and if needed he can pitch multiple innings to make up for Joe Kelly’s absence in the final week of the regular season.
While the Dodgers’ keeping Kelly down for the final week could just be a precautionary measure all the Dodgers can do is hope he is ready to answer the bell when the postseason gets underway. Joe Kelly was LA’s big off-season signing, so it’s safe to say they were counting on him to help their next World Series run.
As most of Andrew Friedman’s Dodger teams have been built, the 2019 Dodgers are as deep as the previous two versions of the Dodgers. If Joe Kelly does need to miss time in the postseason the blue can count on Kenta Maeda to step up and handle high leverage situations in the postseason. Hopefully Kelly is ready to go for October, since this could be a much better postseason bullpen over the last two playoff pens.