Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts announced that right-hander Joe Kelly has been removed from the team’s playoff roster following a bicep injury that occurred in the first inning of last night’s game. Left-hander David Price has been added to the 26-man roster in his place.
Kelly ran into trouble serving as an opener against the Braves, allowing a two-run homer to Freddie Freeman that ultimately proved inconsequential as the Dodgers stormed back not long after. After facing just four batters Kelly walked off the mound with what is being termed a biceps strain. Even if the Dodgers advance to the World Series this strain will prove season-ending for Kelly. Injury removals of this sort render players ineligible to return for the current or next series, meaning even a speedy recovery wouldn’t enable Kelly to rejoin the pen.
Despite last night’s hardships Kelly had been a reliable weapon out of the bullpen for Roberts, as he allowed just one run in 4 2/3 playoff innings up to that point. That had continued a trend of strong work this year, as the bespectacled reliever finished the season with an impressive 2.86 ERA/3.08 FIP, a 27.5% strikeout rate, and 58.4% roundball rate across 44 innings.
Price meanwhile has served as a utility pitcher of sorts in his first regular season action with Dodgers. Following his opt-out of last year’s shortened season Price has embraced the role of occasional starter, middle reliever, and game finisher. Opposing batters haven’t had much difficulty facing the former Cy Young winner, hitting .272/.339/.428 with just a 17.8% strikeout rate. An above average ability to avoid hard contact and keep the ball out of the air however has allowed the lefty to post a serviceable 4.03 ERA/ 4.23 FIP across 73 2/3 innings this year.
In one more piece of ominous Dodgers news, Roberts also reported that left-handed reliever Justin Bruihl is dealing with arm soreness. On the year the rookie pitched to a 2.89 ERA/ 3.97 FIP with a strong 50% roundball rate across 18 2/3 innings. While the lefty sported only a 15.1% strikeout rate in his inaugural season he displayed much stronger bat-missing abilities in the minors throughout his career, frequently checking in with strikeout rates north of 30%. A call hasn’t been made on whether or not to replace Bruihl on the roster just yet, though this continues an unwelcome trend of playoff injuries for the team after replacing Justin Turner on the roster yesterday.