A bullpen game for the Los Angeles Dodgers got off to an inauspicious start as Joe Kelly surrendered a two-run home run to Freddie Freeman in the first inning of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
Shortly after the Atlanta Braves jumped out to another early lead, Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior and trainer Yosuke “Possum” Nakajima went to visit Kelly on the mound, and he was removed from the start.
The Dodgers announced his exit was due to right bicep tightness, and following their comeback win, manager Dave Roberts said Kelly will miss the remainder of the postseason.
L.A. has been snake bit by injuries throughout the season, and in the seventh inning of Game 4, they lost Justin Turner for the remainder of the playoffs because of a Grade 2 left hamstring strain. Turner was replaced on the NLCS roster by Andy Burns.
Should the Dodgers avoid elimination in Game 5, they presumably would look to add a fresh pitcher in Kelly’s place as well. However, doing so would rule out the right-hander from being an option for the World Series roster if the Dodgers were to advance.
Thursday was Kelly’s seventh appearance in a postseason game this year and first start since the 2013 playoffs when he was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Kelly entered 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 0.86 WHIP for L.A. this October.
Who could replace Kelly?
With the Dodgers finding themselves in position to replace Kelly on the NLCS roster, conceivable options include David Price, Andre Jackson, Darien Nuñez and Mitch White, among others. Roberts said Price was at “the top of the list.”
Price was not on the active roster for the Wild Card Game, but added when the Dodgers faced the San Francisco Giants in the NL Division Series. However, he did not appear in any of the five games and was removed for the NLCS roster.
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