Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball on Wednesday, a day after throwing a fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and mockingly taunting Astros star Carlos Correa.
Benches cleared after Kelly’s movements during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 victory at Minute Maid Park. The game marked the first time the teams had met since it was revealed Houston stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title that came at the Dodgers’ expense.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was suspended one game and Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an unrevealed amount.
Baker said he was fined because his players came onto the field, breaking COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
”It’s no big deal,” he said of the fine. ”I’ll just pay a fine. No problem.”
Kelly elected to appeal and can continue to play until the process is complete. Roberts served his penalty Wednesday night when the Dodgers beat Houston 4-2 in 13 innings.
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Kelly, a hard thrower with a touch of wildness, has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.
An eight-game penalty in this virus-shortened 60-game season is equivalent of 22 matches in 162-game season.
”I think that the punishments were fair,” Baker said.
The lingering animosity the Dodgers felt toward the Astros – who were penalized by MLB in the offseason after their scam came to light – had been brewing. It bubbled over when Bregman, a star of the Astros’ run to their championship, came to bat in the bottom of the sixth on Tuesday night.
The Dodgers led 5-2 when Kelly, who was with Boston in 2017 and also faced Houston that postseason, zipped a 3-0 fastball behind Bregman’s head. Bregman grimaced after jumping to prevent being hit, then trotted to first base.
There were two outs in the inning when Kelly threw a breaking ball over Correa’s head. Correa, who homered and ended with three hits, took off his batting helmet and stared Kelly down before continuing the at-bat.
Kelly struck out Correa to end the inning, then stuck out his tongue and made a face in his direction. Correa started walking toward him and the players exchanged words, prompting the benches to clear in the first such incident of this pandemic-delayed season.
Order was restored after a few minutes and there were no ejections, but Baker was still upset before play resumed and got in the face of an umpire.
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