Dodgers News: Joe Kelly Dealt With Knee, Quad & Arm Trouble During 2019 NLDS

The Los Angeles Dodgers moved to address their bullpen last winter by signing Joe Kelly weeks after he was dominant for the Boston Red Sox in their run to a World Series. The three-year, $27 million contract marked the largest doled out by Andrew Friedman to a free agent during his time as the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations.

The club envisioned Kelly filling a multi-faceted role, at times serving as a setup man to Kenley Jansen and in other situations helping build the bridge to the closer. However, Kelly’s homecoming got off to a subpar start.

He eventually began to right the ship but then dealt with injury over the final month of the season and into the postseason. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts initially deemed the issue a lower body injury and later described it as general soreness.

Neither Kelly or Roberts offered specifics, but both maintained the right-hander would be available for the National League Division Series even as his usage was scaled back in September.

“It started with knee and quad, there was some lower-body stuff, and it got to arm soreness,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said during his end of season press conference.

“There was nothing structural, there was nothing big. We just had the benefit of being able to slow play it a little bit.”

Kelly collected two strikeouts as he finished out a 6-0 win for the Dodgers in Game 1. But the encouraging appearance was offset by Kelly struggling in Games 3 and 5. He worked a scoreless ninth inning in the Dodgers’ decisive loss but labored in the 10th and surrendered a grand slam.

“I didn’t have the command from inning one to inning two,” Kelly said of the appearance. “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.”

Overall this season Kelly went 5-4 with one save, a 4.56 ERA, 3.78 FIP and 1.38 WHIP in 55 games.