Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly nearly hit two Houston Astros players in the sixth inning of Tuesday night's game, and Major League Baseball was quick to punish him for it.
The MLB announced Wednesday it had suspended the former Red Sox pitcher eight games for his actions against the Astros. Eight games in this shortened 60-game season is equivalent to a 22-game suspension in a normal 162-game season. Kelly will appeal the suspension, per the Dodgers. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also was suspended one game.
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After Kelly struck out Astros shortstop Carlos Correa -- who he almost hit in the head with a pitch -- to end the sixth inning, the two players exchanged words and teammates from both dugouts quickly went on the field.
The Dodgers and Astros cleared the benches after Joe Kelly struck out and exchanged words with Carlos Correa. pic.twitter.com/Z2l2A1sMG6— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 29, 2020
The Astros are not a well-liked team right now, to say the least. You probably remember that the Astros' elaborate sign-stealing operation during the 2017 season was the biggest story in baseball during the offseason. The league handed down unprecedented punishment to the Astros organization, but no players were suspended. The Dodgers lost to the Astros in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, so this whole situation is a pretty big deal in Los Angeles.
There was a ton of passionate reaction to Kelly's suspension, and Dodgers fans weren't the only people upset about it.
Here's some notable Twitter reaction to Kelly's eight-game ban.
Joe Kelly for NL MVP— Torey Krug (@ToreyKrug) July 29, 2020
Makes zero sense Ken. He wasn’t even thrown out of the game. MLB siding with/protecting a team that openly and knowingly cheated their way to a World Series. He doesn’t deserve to be suspended at all. Hoping he wins his appeal. Looking forward to seeing you back out there JK! pic.twitter.com/Lekx8NHLRp— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) July 29, 2020
YO FREE JOE KELLY💯— La llave🗝 (@since93key) July 29, 2020
Joe Kelly earned every bit of that 8-game suspension. The ball was too close to Bregman’s head. Kelly wasn’t even on the 2017 Dodgers.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 29, 2020
If Rob Manfred had punished the cheaters, pitchers like Joe Kelly wouldn’t have to. The lamest commish could have stopped Tuesday’s sixth inning before it started— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) July 29, 2020
If there were fans allowed in the stadiums this year, I think Joe Kelly would receive the loudest and longest standing ovation in Dodger Stadium history— Blake Harris (@BlakeHarrisTBLA) July 29, 2020
If you had "Joe Kelly" as "First Player Disciplined In The Fallout From The 2017 Astros Scandal," come collect your winnings— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) July 29, 2020
If Joe Kelly serves a single game of that 8-game suspension, he will have been punished more than any of the players that cheated to win a World Series title in 2017. Let that sink in.— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) July 29, 2020
It’s funny because if this exact scenario happened with Joe Kelly, against any other team beside the Astros, I bet there would be no suspension. https://t.co/Gtj3RxI8eZ— TJ Nichting (@TJNichting) July 29, 2020