Kelly can't shut down Dodgers, fights through 5 innings -

Kelly can't shut down Dodgers, fights through 5 innings

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(BaseballStL) -- Joe Kelly may be hailed as a hometown hero, but not the way he would like. The 25-year-old California native was unable to put the Dodgers away Wednesday as he surrendered four runs over five innings. 

He allowed seven hits compared to Game 1's six, but the Los Angeles bats were more powerful in Game 5, blasting two home runs off Kelly. 

"Adrian's first homer was huge. I felt like we get the two runs, and then they come right back and get him right back," said Dodger manager Don Mattingly. "But then Adrian pops one for us and puts us on top and gives us that lead right back."

Gonzalez would ultimately hit a second homer later in the game, but it was Carl Crawford who got the second bomb off Kelly. 

Many fans wondered on social media why the Cardinals pitcher remained in the game so long, though Mike Matheny wasn't asked to elaborate during post game. 

One reason could have been Kelly's overall effectiveness. After he allowed two runs in the bottom of the second, Kelly retired 10 out of 12 batters. The two outliers were the homers to Crawford and Gonzalez. 

There weren't any men on from the third through the fifth, and perhaps Matheny felt no one would have been more effective at that point. I would tend to agree with him. Those who called for Kelly to be pulled would have a hard time justifying going to the bullpen in the third or the fifth inning. The best option would have been Shelby Miller in long relief, and he hasn't thrown since October 4. 

Kelly wasn't behind hitters, and he wasn't walking anyone. He gave up two home runs to very good players. As it turned out, the bullpen was no better at holding off the Dodger bats, as two more taters were served up by Edward Mujica and John Axford. 

Ultimately, the Cardinals fell two runs short in the ninth. Whether you want to point to the two homers given up by Kelly or the two by the Cardinal bullpen, it's clear there are plenty of directions a finger can be pointed. 

Fans have a whole day to manage from the couch, as the Cardinals and Dodgers fly back to St. Louis Thursday before Friday's Game 6. 


JJ Bailey covers the Cardinals for and the BaseballStL app. Follow him on twitter @TheJJBailey and on @baseballstl_app for updates.  

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