In 2020, former Boston Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly helped the Los Angeles Dodgers to a World Series championship. In 2021, Kelly might prevent them from getting to the Fall Classic.
Kelly got the ball as the opener for the Dodgers in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday. It was a must-win game for the defending champions, as they trail the Atlanta Braves 3-1 in the series.
But Kelly didn’t make it out of the first inning, allowing a two-run home run before exiting with right bicep tightness. It was an uncharacteristic showing for the 33-year-old, who has been lights-out in the postseason so far. He has allowed one run through 4 2/3 innings over six games.
Game 5 was a planned bullpen game for the Dodgers, but they’ll have to step up sooner than expected to keep the season alive.