Although the Los Angeles Dodgers have relied on Tony Gonsolin as the fifth member of their starting rotation, yet’s to provide much length through four outings. Gonsolin’s four innings of work on Friday was his longest start of the year but still required the Dodgers to use multiple relief pitchers.
Victor Gonzalez was first into the game, but he only managed to retire two of four batters faced. Joe Kelly entered with runners at the corners and then faced a situation with two scoring position when Joc Pederson stole second base.
Kelly worked out of the jam and preserved the Dodgers’ 2-1 lead at the the time by striking out Kris Bryant. Kelly finished the at-bat by using a high leg kick and pause in his delivery before throwing a changeup.
He also got Anthony Rizzo swinging on a changeup in the fifth inning. “With Joe, expect the unexpected,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“When he’s feeling froggy, frisky, comfortable, he can do some different things that offsets the timing of the hitter. We call him Joseph now. He’s a strike thrower and a three-pitch guy; the fastball, curveball, changeup.
“He’s on a good roll. For us to go where we need to, we need him in this fashion. Really good stuff from Joe.”
Kelly was among three Dodgers relief pitchers to log at least one inning in the win. Blake Treinen had the longest appearance as he was tasked with getting five outs.
“They were great and they’ve been good for a long time. When you look at lanes for the opposing lineup and a runway for these guys, they dominated it,” Roberts said of Kelly and Treinen.
“To be able to go up and down, take down hitters and get big outs for us, it was what we needed. The way we pitched was huge, and obviously that big hit by AJ was a big exhale in the dugout.”
Kelly feeling healthy
After an inconsistent 2020 season that later was learned to have been caused by cysts in his throwing shoulder, Kelly has fared better this year and felt the benefits of undergoing offseason surgery.
“Feels good, strong. No more of the weakness or struggle from the bounce-backs like it was before,” Kelly recently said of his arm. “Now it’s strong and I keep it ready to rock.”
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