The Los Angeles Dodgers have faltered as of late, but they have managed pulled out a lot of their wins with a bit of a haphazard bullpen situation. Not having a player like Joe Kelly has without a doubt been the source of some of their frustration.
Kelly hasn’t played a game yet this year, and manager Dave Roberts has had to patch together a bullpen from a bunch of random pieces, as Victor Gonzalez, Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen have been shouldering most of the load. The main reason Kelly hasn’t pitched so far this year has been, per him, cysts on the inside of his shoulder.
In an interview on Boston radio, Kelly claimed that he underwent surgery in November, a procedure that he called “pretty serious.” This is … apparently the first time most of Dodger nation is hearing about how serious his injury was?!
“My shoulder hasn’t been good since the end of 2019,” Kelly said. “During my suspension after the thing with the Astros, my arm was super weak. If I was laying on a table I couldn’t lift my arm past gravity … I couldn’t sleep at night and it felt like fire ants were eating my arm from the inside-out.”
Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly’s absence is due to offseason surgery.
Kelly, a former starter who has been much more effective since coming out of the bullpen, showed with the Dodgers that he was still lethal due to his blistering fastball. Kelly recorded a 1.80 ERA while picking up some big outs in the playoffs (even though he hasn’t been great for them during the regular season). When you throw 100 with tailing action, it’s pretty easy to get some strikeouts.
Jansen is the team’s closer, though Gonzalez, Treinen, and former Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson have all received serious time on the mound. Kelly should be able to return to seventh and eighth inning duties whenever he gets a clean bill of health.
LA knows that their starting pitching is going to carry this team, but the only thing that could prevent a team like the San Diego Padres from leapfrogging them in the standings is their ability to shut the door in close games.
The Dodgers are putting some key contributors on the IL lately, and Kelly undergoing a major surgery in the offseason with all of this secrecy certainly isn’t going to make fans start to calm down.