RHP Joe Kelly was a part of the 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers squad that finally got over the hump and brought the city a World Series ring. He brought forward a sense of energy that propelled the squad through hurdles in his three seasons there and he served as a solid reliever when he was on the field, recording a 3.59 ERA. The key words there are “when he was on the field”, seeing that numerous leg and hamstring issues would subject him to the IL frequently.
Kelly has been exploring other hobbies outside of baseball and most recently broke out into the world of writing. He just released his first novel, “A Damn Near Perfect Game”, with Rob Bradford where they take a look at the different elements of the MLB and Kelly also explains the backstory behind some famous moments in his career. Even though his time with LA wasn’t very long, he spends a number of pages reflecting on some memorable games with them. One fan favorite was when he made a pouty face towards Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros.
However, there is likely only one other game with the Boys in the Blue that people remember more than his mockery to Houston and that was in the 2013 NLCS. Kelly was actually playing for the St.Louis Cardinals and throwing against the Dodgers as both teams were fighting for a World Series appearance. The 24-year-old threw a fastball that broke Hanley Ramirez’s ribs, who was among LA’s best hitters in that series, and significantly weakened the Dodgers chances to win.
“Hanley Ramirez probably should have gotten out of the way or turned inside a little more,” said Kelly. “It was a fastball in and before the game we game planned to not let Hanley beat us. He’s not a very good inside fastball hitter. One slipped and obviously broke his rib and that will forever go down as the biggest pitch to turn the Cardinals season to move on. Obviously, it was an accident. But Hanley was the biggest person we tried to pitch away from contact. It was unfortunate it hit him, but it is what it is.”
Dodgers fans likely will not be happy with Kelly’s response considering his pitch cost them the chance at another championship but you have to give the veteran props for keeping it real. The Cardinals would go on to lose that year in the World Series to the Boston Red Sox, four games to two.
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