Dave Roberts is willing to shoulder the blame for the Los Angeles Dodgers' series-deciding loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.
"If the blame falls on me, I’ve got no problem with it," Roberts said, according to ASAP Sports. "I feel that my job is to put guys in the best position to have success. And if it doesn’t work out, there’s always going to be second-guessing. I’ve got no problem wearing the brunt of that."
Kelly was in his second inning of work and Kenley Jansen was warm and ready in the bullpen.
"Kelly goes in there, throws 10 pitches, and he's throwing the baseball really well," Roberts explained. "So for him to go out there and take down that inning and to have Kenley take down the other part of the order, I felt really good about it.
"I just felt that Joe had a good chance to put Howie on the ground and potentially then get Kenley on Zimmerman. And so my thought was to try to get a ground ball right there."
The Kelly decision wasn't the only one Roberts had to answer questions about.
The Dodgers manager opted to use Clayton Kershaw in relief of starter Walker Buehler in the seventh inning with Los Angeles ahead 3-1. After striking out Adam Eaton to end the frame, Kershaw returned for the eighth, and that's where things went wrong.
The three-time Cy Young winner, who has had his fair share of postseason struggles, allowed back-to-back solo home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto before he was pulled from the game. The two homers opened the door for Washington's eventual comeback win.
"I'll take Clayton any day in that situation," Roberts said of his decision. "I just think it's one of those where it was easy for me to get Clayton, with the low pitches to get Rendon and to go out there and get Soto.
"He's probably the best pitcher of our generation. For him to make himself available tonight and got us out of a big spot right there and it just didn't work out. So there's always going to be second-guessing when things don't work out, but I'll take my chances any day on Clayton, and it just didn't work out right there."