Thursday night was a near-perfect night at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers kept their 2021 hopes alive with an 11-run offensive explosion. Chris Taylor had a career night, AJ Pollock broke out with a pair of home runs, Albert Pujols chipped in three singles, and Trea Turner found a way to finally take advantage of the Braves’ shift and poke a pair of hits through the right side.
Additionally, the bullpen was perfect while covering 8.1 innings. However, the lone sore spot proved to be the early injury to opener Joe Kelly. The right-hander left the game with bicep tightness after allowing a 2-run homer and recording only 2 outs. He threw just 28 pitches.
After the game, Dave Roberts had the update on the reliever.
“It’s a bicep strain. We’re gonna continue to evaluate it but — just kind of the way it reads right now, that’ll be it for the season for him.”
Thankfully the rest of the bullpen picked up Joseph and the Dodgers in a massive way. Six relievers combined to hold the Atlanta offense scoreless over 8.1 innings, allowing only 3 hits while striking out 9 Braves.
Today, the Dodgers fly to the east coast ahead of game 6 on Saturday afternoon. Dave and the medical staff will assuredly take that time to determine the next steps for Kelly, but, as he said, from the initial read, it seems like Joe will be done for the season.
However much longer that may be.
It’s another blow for the Dodgers who have been hit by the injury bug heavily all season long. Now with Kelly out, the bullpen is down one of Doc’s top leverage arms at a time when he may be most needed. The late inning options will still feature Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen, and Corey Knebel, but the loss of Kelly definitely hampers the ability to bring in key arms early in the game.
As for Joe’s roster spot, Roberts said there is a short list of arms the organization will consider to replace the right-hander, adding that David Price is someone who is at the top of that list.