Fans and even some players expressed their outrage with the league’s decision to suspend Kelly. Many saw Kelly’s throws toward Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa as retaliation for the Astros’ cheating scandal during the 2017 season. No active Astros players were suspended over the scandal.
It’s worth noting that Kelly was on the Boston Red Sox during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The Red Sox defeated the Astros in the 2018 American League Championships Series on the way to their own World Series title. Boston was also penalized for its own cheating scheme during that season.
Regardless, emotions were running high on Twitter.
Benches would empty during Los Angeles’ 5-2 victory over Houston on Tuesday night thanks to pitches thrown from Joe Kelly of the Dodgers toward Astros batters.
Kelly buzzed the heads of Bregman and Correa in the sixth inning. He threw behind Bregman to cause a walk and his pitch to Correa was over his head. Kelly, however, denied that he purposely threw at the Astros’ heads.
“No. When I was with the Red Sox we beat them in ’18,” he said. “It’s one of those things that I pitch competitively. With no fans here, it’s easy to hear some stuff (from the opposing dugout) … there’s something they apparently didn’t take too kind to.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who was suspended for a game, was also unsure.
“I really don’t know, to be quite honest,” he said. “I know he got behind Bregman 3-0 and lost a fastball. I really don’t think there was intent behind that. I think those guys took a little bit of offense. Even the one to Correa that was a breaking ball that just backed up.”
Astros manager Dusty Baker said Kelly was chirping Correa but nothing was said to provoke the pitcher.
“What really enraged everybody … is when he told him: ‘Nice swing b—h’” Baker said. “What are you supposed to do then?”
Baker added: “We didn’t say anything. We don’t start nothing. But we don’t take nothing, either.”
Kelly has elected to appeal the suspension.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.