Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly was suspended by Major League Baseball for eight games for his actions in the bottom of the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s 5-2 Dodgers win over the Astros. Kelly has appealed and was available but did not pitch in Wednesday night’s 4-2, 13-inning win in Houston as the discipline will be held in abeyance.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts received a one-game suspension and bench coach Bob Geren managed the club on Wednesday -- managers' suspensions cannot be appealed. Houston manager Dusty Baker was fined.
In announcing the discipline, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of baseball operations Chris Young cited Kelly’s “previous suspension for intentional throwing,” and concluded that Kelly “threw a pitch in the area of the head of Alex Bregman and later taunted Carlos Correa, which led to the benches clearing.”
Kelly and Correa had a verbal exchange after Correa struck out to end the sixth inning, during which Kelly threw behind Bregman and over the head of Correa. It was the first meeting between the 2017 World Series opponents since the Astros' cheating scandal came to light. Kelly was not on that '17 Dodgers club, but he was with the Red Sox, who also were eliminated from the postseason by Houston that year.
Roberts said there was talk on a morning call with MLB officials about the possibility of umpires issuing a warning to both clubs before Wednesday night’s game, but there also was reluctance because that puts pitchers “on edge.” Roberts said he believed the incident “relieved” tensions that had been building for seven months after the findings.
He said he did not believe the Astros would retaliate, but if they did was confident umpires would handle it.
Roberts said he would relay to his players how important it is “at any cost” to stay on the bench.
“Baseball right now, we’re under a microscope, which we should be,” he said. “Us, as coaches, myself included, have to do a better job making sure guys stay on the bench. Last night when tempers flared, I tried to get out there to keep it at bay and minimize it, but guys have to stay on the bench to follow social distancing protocols.”
• Clayton Kershaw remains on schedule to throw a bullpen session on Thursday, which could set him up to return from the 10-day injured list and make his debut as early as Sunday in Arizona or sometime within the next week.
“He feels good after that up-and-down. It went well,” Roberts said. “With Thursday being his ‘pen day, if it’s not Arizona, we’ll see when it is. I’m encouraged it will be sooner or later.”
Roberts said he was still undecided about a Friday night starter, with a handful of rookies as candidates, as well as a bullpen game. He said if they choose a player from the alternate training site, that player would drive to Phoenix instead of fly commercial.
• Kelly’s pouty face and trash-talking taunting of Correa on Tuesday night not only endeared him to Dodgers fans for life, but in the clubhouse as well.
“The face he did is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on a baseball field and obviously it went viral on social media and now we’re all excited because we’ll have new shirts to wear for BP and stuff like that,” said pitcher Ross Stripling.