2. The Save
A crappy 2019 season for Joe Kelly was punctuated by giving up a season-ending grand slam to Howie Kendrick and the Washington Nationals. A balky elbow had limited Kelly to just 10 games during the COVID-shortened season, and not much was expected from him in the postseason.
Despite this, Kelly found himself thrust into the postseason fire very early in the Dodgers’ NLDS matchup against the San Diego Padres. Already ahead in the series 1-0 and needing a win to put the Padres in a deep hole, the Dodgers entered the ninth inning of Game 2 leading 6-3…but an ineffective Kenley Jansen let two runs in. Dave Roberts called on Kelly to stave off the Padres and preserve the win.
With a runner on first and two outs, Kelly proceeded to walk Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. (both on 3-2 counts), loading the bases and giving this writer his first heart attack (at least, that’s what it felt like). Facing Eric Hosmer, Kelly got two strikes before giving up a sharp grounder to preserve the victory. It was a reversal of the year before, with Kelly pitching effectively and helping the Dodgers end their 32-year title drought.