Joe Kelly proved to be a force for the Boston Red Sox during their 2018 postseason run, but it didn’t come without some mid- to late-season struggles.
The right-hander fell out of his groove in June after his infamous brawl with then-New York Yankee Tyler Austin at Fenway Park in April, and many wondered whether he’d make the postseason roster. Fast forward to October, when he dominated for Boston, helping the Red Sox to their fourth World Series championship in 15 seasons.
Kelly hit the free-agent market this offseason and agreed to a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team the Red Sox defeated to win baseball’s crown. Although the pitcher was lights out in the postseason, Kelly hasn’t always been consistent on the mound.
The 30-year-old began his career as a starter, but after some bumps in that role with Boston, he was moved to the bullpen. Kelly wasn’t always the most consistent in relief, either, and the Dodgers likely knew the kind of pitcher they were signing. But Los Angeles is ready to use Kelly in any role it needs him for.
?I?m not dedicated to any specific role,? Kelly told The Athletic’s Pedro Moura. ?If you wanted to name a role, it?s me pitching whenever the big outs are. That?s when I perform the best, and that?s when I feel most comfortable.?
He certainly makes a point about getting big outs, considering his performance in the 2018 postseason. Despite the inconsistencies throughout his career, Kelly sounds ready to go in at any point during the game for the Dodgers in 2019.