The Los Angeles Dodgers had been waiting for their first chance to face the Houston Astros, and they didn't waste any time going after the team found guilty this offseason of cheating in 2017.
In the bottom of the sixth inning on Tuesday, Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly fired a fastball that sailed behind the head of Astros star Alex Bregman.
A few batters later, Kelly buzzed the tower on Astros shortstop Carlos Correa.
Carlos Correa has to duck out of the way from an inside breaking ball from Joe Kelly. pic.twitter.com/NabNOVB0Q6— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 29, 2020
Kelly would go on to strike out Correa to end the inning, and the two exchanged words, prompting both benches to clear. During the age of social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic, there was no fight. But there was still a lot of tension.
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After the game, Astros manager Dusty Baker didn't bite his tongue when asked about Kelly's actions.
Dusty Baker: "You don’t throw a guy’s head. That’s playing dirty baseball."— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 29, 2020
"Balls get away sometimes but not that many in the big leagues," Baker told reporters, according to The Associated Press. "When you throw a 3-0 fastball over a guy's head you're flirting with ending his career."
Ironically, Kelly wasn't on the Dodgers in 2017, but he was on the Boston Red Sox team that was implicated of a cheating scandal in 2018. Kelly and the Red Sox did lose to the Astros in the playoffs in 2017, though.
According to the former Giants manager, it was Kelly's words Tuesday night that upset the Astros.
"What really enraged everybody ... is when he told Carlos `Nice swing b---h,'" Baker told reporters. "What are you supposed to do then?"
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The Giants just finished a four-game series with the Dodgers in LA, and they didn't have to deal with any wrath from any of the pitchers. So it's clear Kelly and the Dodgers were saving up their anger for the Astros.
It's a safe bet that the beef between the two teams isn't going to simmer down anytime soon. They wrap up their two-game series Wednesday in Houston and then play two more times Sept. 12-13.
Grab your popcorn.