Kelley allowed two runs on three hits while striking out four over 1.1 innings to earn his fourth save of the year Wednesday at the Mets. Kelley came on to protect a two-run lead with runners on second and third and two out in the eighth inning and struck out Alejandro De Aza to end the threat. However, he then gave up a two-run homer to James Loney with one out in the ninth inning to make things interesting before securing the save. He's now allowed runs to score on him in three of his last four outings, and his ERA is at 3.00 on the year.
Kelley allowed one run on two hits while striking out three over 1.1 innings to earn his third save of the year Sunday at the Brewers. Kelly was protecting a one-run lead, and after retiring the first two hitters in the ninth inning, he gave up a solo homer and a triple before getting Scooter Gennett to fly out to end the contest. After blowing a save in his last outing, giving up a run in this contest gives him a pair of shaky outings in a row, though he still has an excellent 2.60 ERA.
Kelley pitched 0.2 perfect innings to earn his second save of the season Thursday at the Padres. Kelley came on to protect a four-run lead with two runners on, and he allowed a sacrifice fly before inducing a ground out to close out the victory. He's now converted both of his save opportunities since Jonathan Papelbon went on the disabled list, and Kelley boasts a 2.45 ERA to go along with a 0.82 WHIP.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker acknowledged after Thursday's game that Kelley would be his interim closer while Jonathan Papelbon (intercostal) was on the DL, The Washington Post reports. "This is what we settled upon," Baker said. "Mike [Maddux, the pitching coach] and I talked about it, and we think he's best suited for that until Pap gets back." He's pitched three times in the last four days, including 1.7 innings in Wednesday's extra-inning win over the Cubs in a non-save situation, so Kelley isn't likely to be available Friday should the Nats have a late-inning lead to protect. With Papelbon's return date uncertain, however, Kelley should get plenty of save chances over the coming weeks.
Kelley retired all five batters he faced, striking out four, to pick up the five-out save Monday against the Cubs. Kelley combined with Max Scherzer and Oliver Perez to limit the Cubs to just two hits and one run in a 4-1 victory. Wahington's top middle reliever proved with this effort that he's no less comfortable pitching in the ninth inning when called upon.