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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Likes a ‘Frisky’ Joe ‘Joseph’ Kelly on the Mound

No, this isn’t Dodgers Nation after dark, this is real inside baseball vibe talk. Right-hander Joe Kelly tossed an inning of scoreless relief on Friday night in Los Angeles, his 6th straight scoreless outing. Moreover, after a rough start, Kelly has been nails for the Dodgers in 2021, adding to his swagger with each outing after a late start to the season.

Dave Roberts was ready to praise his reliever on Friday night after striking out 2 batters in a Dodger win over the Cubs.

“When he’s feeling froggy, frisky, comfortable, he can do some different things that offsets the timing of the hitter,” Roberts said. “We call him Joseph now. He’s a strike-thrower. … He’s on a good roll, and for us to go where we want to go, we need him in this fashion.”

Joseph William Kelly Jr has a 2.35 ERA since his first nightmare outing of the season. The frisky Kelly has only gotten better as the season has progressed, perhaps showing that his shoulder surgery in the offseason proved to be a real difference maker.

Related: Joe Kelly Reveals Long-Hidden Issue and Offseason Shoulder Operation

On the season, Kelly has a 4.50 ERA over 17 appearances, striking out 15 batters in 16 innings pitched while walking 4.

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Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Bobby Miller, and any Dodgers of the future. Under Clint, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. He's a golf enthusiast, an amateur wood worker, and a friend.


  1. You can really just throw out ERA when it comes to 1 inning RP’s. Kelly is the very essential example of why…1 bad outing will skew his ERA for the rest of this season. Yet, he has been truly effective since that 1 bad outing. Since giving up 4 ER in his 1st outing of 2/3 IP, he has given up exactly 4 more ER in his last 15.1 IP.

    ERA is not as important to RP’s as WHIP though. If you remove his 1st outing, his overall WHIP of 0.8125 is the best on the entire pitching staff. Even with that horrible 1st outing his overall WHIP of 1.125 is still excellent and worth taking notice of.

    Soon Kelly will be pitching in higher and higher leverage situations. I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to excel and eventually recreate his dominant performance of the 2018 postseason.

  2. I would call it “spunky”, I like it. When he comes in there’s always an aura of interest of uncertainty. He would throw his tailing fastball @ the batter’s hands, then his wicked curve, then just let another uncontrollable fastball fly above the head, and then finish him off w/ a change-up. I get a chuckle watching his approach and demeanor towards the hitter, after recalling he broke his own house window during the off season. While working on his change-up, he missed his backstop netting completely and it flew straight @ his glass window. Ooops. Now, whenever he throws an errant pitch up high and I see a small grin on his face, I also have to chuckle. At least now he has better command getting guys out and looking stronger after his surgery. SPUNKY !

  3. I have always like Joe Kelly on the mound. Last year not so much but now he looks like he is in charge and doing what he did in Boston, save games. I am sure he has got the attention again as his backed to back performance’s were very good. He brings a little wildness and will spook the opposing teams in return. He too is another example of the Dodgers great pitching staff.

  4. Kelly has been streaky his entire career. He’s had great years, bad years, and seasons where he has been dominant for months, and crap for other months. Right now he is on one of his rolls, and that will really help this bullpen out because when he is on, he can be dominant.

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