Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and several players did their best to minimize any significance or anticipation with facing the Houston Astros for the first time since MLB punished them for electronically stealing signs, but most still expected some sort of fireworks.
Sure enough, that came at the end of the sixth inning of the series opener at Minute Maid Park. Having already uncorked a fastball that sailed above and back of Alex Bregman, Joe Kelly struggled with his command and brushed back Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa with breaking balls.
Correa wound up striking out to end the inning, and he and Kelly then exchanged words. Kelly also made a pouty face at the Astros shortstop, a moment that went viral but seemingly angered their dugout.
Kelly was fined and suspended eight games, Roberts received a one-game ban, and Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined. Kelly’s appeal reduced the suspension to five games, which he will begin serving upon returning from the 10-day injured list.
During a lengthy interview on the “The Big Swing” podcast, co-hosted by Ross Stripling and Cooper Surles, part of Kelly’s criticism and frustration was aimed at Baker:
“They have a manager on their side, verbatim, yelling at me saying, ‘Get your little skinny ass on the mound.’ So my cuss words get eight games and his cuss words get zero? He’s cussing me at me and he’s body shaming me. He’s a bully. He’s calling me skinny. Imagine if he was calling me fat. I take offense to that. Dusty, that hurts my feelings, you’re calling me skinny. That’s not nice. Don’t do that. That’s not very Major League Baseball-like of you to do that.”
The situation Kelly alluded to proceeded the benches clearing and occurred when he covered first base to record an out. Michael Brantley appeared to incidentally spike Kelly as he attempted to beat out the play. The two looked at one another, and at that point a voice was heard from the Astros dugout telling Kelly to get back on the mound.
That largely is a byproduct of games being played without fans in attendance, though Kelly is fond of the quiet setting that allows for the banter to be heard because he believes it heightens the competitiveness.
Kelly accuses Correa of breaking CDC guidelines
MLB has emphasized teams remaining compliant with CDC guidelines and the league’s own health and safety protocols, which Kelly claimed Correa broke when he spit in the direction of the Dodgers dugout during the incident.
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