Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly has been suspended eight games for intentionally throwing at Astros infielder Alex Bregman and taunting Houston shortstop Carlos Correa on Tuesday, MLB announced on Wednesday. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts has also been suspended for one game.
Kelly has elected to appeal his suspension, while Roberts will serve his one-game ban Wednesday evening. Kelly's eight-game ban is equivalent to a 22-game suspension in a full 162-game season.
Astros manager Dusty Baker has also been fined as part of the incident.
In a rematch of the 2017 World Series on Tuesday night, Kelly came in to pitch for Los Angeles in the sixth inning, tasked with holding a three-run Dodgers lead. Kelly retired Jose Altuve on one pitch to begin the inning, but after that, he seemed to lose his control. Kelly threw four straight balls to Bregman, including a 96 miles-per-hour fastball that whizzed past his head.
Two batters later, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa came to the plate. On the first pitch of his at-bat, Correa dropped to the ground as a breaking ball from Kelly came inches away from hitting his helmet.
Later in the at-bat, Kelly eventually got Correa to chase a breaking ball in the dirt for a strikeout, and thus, the end of the inning. As Kelly walked off the mound, the pitcher had some choice words for Correa, which led to both benches clearing.
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
Nobody was ejected, but almost all of MLB's social distancing guidelines were broken.
There was expected to be some extra adrenaline from the Los Angeles side entering Tuesday night. It was the first time the Dodgers traveled to Minute Maid Park since losing to Houston in the 2017 World Series. Of course, as we all found out this offseason, the Astros illegally stole signs from opposing teams throughout the entirety of the 2017 season.
However, the retaliation from the Dodgers came from Kelly's right arm, a pitcher who wasn't even on the team during the 2017 season. Kelly played for the Boston Red Sox at the time, whom the Astros beat in the 2017 ALDS.
The two sides play once again Wednesday evening. It's hard to imagine the fireworks are done.
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