Those who were rooting for some fireworks during last night’s Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Houston Astros game got their wish. The bad blood between the two 2017 World Series teams was palpable, and spilled over when Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly appeared to intentionally throw at and taunt Astros stars.
Kelly, who was with the Boston Red Sox from 2014-18, handled the sixth inning for the Dodgers. He and manager Dave Roberts deny that he was intentionally throwing at Astros stars Alex Bregman, who he nearly hit in the head on a 3-0 fastball, and later Carlos Correa. He wound up striking Correa out, and was caught taunting him on camera after the at-bat, saying “Nice swing b—h!” according to Astros manager Dusty Baker.
“Balls get away sometimes — but not that many in the big leagues,” Baker said afterwards. “When you throw a 3-0 fastball over a guy’s head, now you’re flirting with ending his career.”
After the taunt at Correa, both benches cleared. In a season that is hanging on a string due to the international health crisis, just days after an outbreak took the entire Miami Marlins franchise off the field for at least a week, a close quarters fight is not what baseball needs. At the same time, something like this may have been inevitable after the slap on the wrist the MLB gave the 2017 World Champion Astros after the team’s sign stealing scandal.
Joe Kelly and Dave Roberts suspended for Dodgers-Astros incident: pic.twitter.com/USYI2OxZKk
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 29, 2020
Moments ago, Joe Kelly and Dave Roberts have both been handed down suspensions as a result of Tuesday’s incident. Roberts will serve a one-game suspension tonight, but Kelly got eight games, a huge suspension for a relief pitcher in a 60-game season. Dusty Baker has received a fine.
Kelly could make three or four appearances in the course of eight games. Scaled up for a normal year, and this would be like a 20+ game suspension in a normal year. That would never happen for some near-miss throws at batters and a taunt normally.
Considering Houston Astros star players were not hit with major repercussions for a sign-stealing scandal that likely helped them win a World Series against these same Los Angeles Dodgers, that seems extremely harsh. Kelly is appealing the decision.
Joe Kelly, who wasnt ejected from last nights game, just received a far harsher punishment than the Astros did for cheating for 3 years. Amazing. https://t.co/wyoUjDY8xB
— Cody Decker (@Decker6) July 29, 2020
MLB cited previous suspensions levied against Kelly for “intentional throwing” in its release. At the same time, MLB desperately wants to keep altercations from happening this year, given everything at risk. It’s a very sticky situation, as with everything in sports in 2020.