Dodgers Pitcher Joe Kelly Suspended Eight Games for Astros Incident

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HOUSTON, TEXAS - JULY 28: Joe Kelly #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers has words with Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros as he walks towards the dugout at Minute Maid Park on July 28, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Both benches would empty after Kelly had thrown high inside pitches at Correa, Bregman and Guriel in the sixth inning.

After throwing at two Houston Astros players on Tuesday night, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly wassuspendedeight games by the MLB. This is almost equivalent to a 22 game suspension in a regular 162-game season. He will appeal his suspension, making him available to play for now. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was handed a one-game suspension, and Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount. The Los Angeles manager chose not to appeal.

Early in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s game, Joe Kelly threw a 96 mph fastball behind Alex Bregman’s head on a 3-0 pitch. Later in the inning, Carlos Correa stepped to the plate with Kelley still in the game. The first pitch that Correa saw made him fall to the ground. The pitcher threw an 87 mph curveball that would have hit Correa’s head if he did not fall. After ultimately striking out Carlos, Kelly taunted him. According to Dusty Baker, following the strikeout, Kelly yelled out to Correa: “Nice swing, b—-.” The two players proceeded to jaw at each other, which led to the benches clearing.

Statements Following the Incident

After the 5-2 Dodger win, Kelly denied any intent, stating, “My accuracy isn’t the best.”

In contrast, Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. had some different thoughts: “Joe Kelly threw a ball behind Bregman’s head on 3-0 on purpose. Not only did he take it upon himself to send a message, but he wasn’t even part of the team during that [2017] season. We knew coming into the game that he likes to go off script. It is what it is. It was done unprofessionally. What he did after he punched out Correa was unprofessional. Running into the dugout was unprofessional. So it is what it is. We’re here to play baseball. We just wanna win. That’s it.”

The Dodgers were furious when they found out about the Astros cheating and for a good reason. After all, they could have won the 2017 World Series if Houston played by the rules. Joe Kelly was not a part of the 2017 Dodgers team that lost the World Series to the Astros. But, he was on the Red Sox who were beaten by the Astros in the 2017 playoffs.

Dave Roberts believes that Tuesday’s incident freed lingering tensions: “This is something that has been built up over the course of seven months. I think it was unfortunate, but to spin it, I think it’s a good thing that we got it out of the way, nobody got hurt, and we can move on and play baseball.”

Going Forward

Major League Baseball will hope that the Dodgers will move on. They were not pleased when players got so close to each other when the benches cleared. The MLB wants social distancing measures to continue to be followed, especially after the Marlins outbreak.

The Dodgers and the Astros will face off two more times this season. The matchups are scheduled for September 12th and September 13th. 

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