Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension on Wednesday in the series finale against the Houston Astros for his involvement in the benches-clearing incident the night prior.
Joe Kelly was given an eight-game ban from Major League Baseball for throwing at a few Astros players, although he is appealing the ruling and has remained active each of the past two nights.
Kelly didn’t even any batters, so it was a bit strange that MLB came down on him so hard, especially since it is a shortened 60-game season to begin with. While Roberts didn’t have a problem with his own suspension, he did think eight games for Kelly was a bit much.
“I think this is an unprecedented number for a pitcher. I know that Joe is in the process of appealing, which I completely agree with and understand. As far as me getting suspended, that’s part of it when a player gets suspended for that reason,” Roberts said.
“I do think I tried to have peace and keep it from escalating, part of my job is keeping guys in the dugout, which I think both managers could’ve done a better job.”
Roberts added he was surprised by the length but remains hopeful it will get reduced. “Extrapolating over the course of 162, it’s 22 games for a relief pitcher. For me, that’s too aggressive,” Roberts said.
“We’re hopeful it gets shortened through an arbitrator. There’s a lot of guys who were upset about the severity of it.”
It is clear the league is not tolerating benches-clearing incidents at all this year considering the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is still going on and everyone worked so hard to make this season happen. Roberts feels that the Dodgers’ history with the Astros played a role in the long suspension as well.
“I think it’s a mixed bag of things that led to that harsh of a suspension. Obviously, given what transpired this winter, the history between the two clubs,” he opined.
“Then you bring in the pandemic and social distancing, and the bean-balling last year in the National League, that became a big issue with benches clearing. So all of that kind of stuff led to Major League Baseball trying to deter this.”
Roberts pleads case to no avail
A former teammate of Roberts’, Chris Young, is MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, and he was who reviewed the incident and decided on the punishments.
“I did have a conversation with Chris and I pleaded our case. I don’t have any say in it (the appeals process), unfortunately. He’s doing his job,” Roberts said.
“In their opinion, he was throwing at a hitter. They’re really trying to get away from balls going at players. No one admitted that he did it on purpose; it got away, it’s part of the game. But in their opinion, they felt different.”
Considering none of the Astros players were suspended for their roles in the sign-stealing scandal, it was not surprising to see Dodgers players and others around the league unhappy with how hard the league came down on Kelly. The Dodgers have plenty of pitching depth though, so they will manage without him if his suspension does not get reduced.
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