2019 NLDS: Moving On From Game 5 Loss ‘Going To Be Real Tough’ For Joe Kelly After First Season With Dodgers

In staying away from marquee free agents last winter, the Los Angeles Dodgers still were active on the open market by way of signing Joe Kelly and A.J. Pollock. They figured to play a prominent role this season, yet both endured a rocky first year with the Dodgers.

To make matters worse, Kelly and Pollock will be heavily associated with the team’s failure to advance past the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series. Pollock went 0-for-13 and set a DS record with 11 strikeouts, and Kelly surrendered a back-breaking grand slam to Howie Kendrick in the decisive Game 5.

That came after he worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to keep the game tied. “I didn’t have the command from inning one to inning two,” Kelly said. “It was one of those things that they had some pretty good at-bats and then to Howie, I left the fastball too much over the plate.

“He’s one of those professional hitters, one of the guys in the lineup for them that will have a good at-bat no matter what. It’s tough to make him swing and miss. Just one of those things where you try to run the ball in and get weak contact for a double play.”

Kelly spoke from a somber Dodgers clubhouse in which Walker Buehler, Rich Hill and Clayton Kershaw were among those to get emotional when discussing the disappointment from the abrupt finish.

“It sucks. It’s not a good feeling. We’ve got 25 (players) — and more who weren’t on the roster but in this clubhouse — who strapped on every single day,” Kelly said. “Obviously we had a great regular season but fell short of our ultimate goal. It’s definitely going to be sad. Some of these guys might retire.

“But it wasn’t the lack of effort or talent, we just got beat. In a Game 5 you always say anything can happen. Those are talented players on that team.”

On a personal level Kelly is experiencing a much different result than when he helped the Boston Red Sox to a World Series win over the Dodgers just one year ago. “It’s going to be real tough,” he said of moving on.

“There’s lows and highs of a season and obviously this is not anything we were prepared for. We fell short of the goal.”