Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly is facing a suspension following his actions during Tuesday's game against the Houston Astros. He threw a pitch in the area of batter Alex Bregman's head and then taunted Carlos Correa. MLB responded by suspending him eight games.
When MLB announced the move, it cited Kelly's history of targeted throws. The league said that the Dodgers' pitcher had previously been suspended for the same reason. While the suspension was to begin on Wednesday night during the series finale against the Astros, Kelly has chosen to appeal the decision. The league announced that the "discipline will be held in abeyance" until the process is complete.
Joe Kelly strikes out Carlos Correa. Pleasantries are exchanged ... then we get our first socially-distanced bench clearing altercation of the season.pic.twitter.com/dmQElWppqd— SI MLB (@si_mlb) July 29, 2020
In addition to Kelly's eight-game suspension, MLB also suspended Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. He will miss one game, which is Wednesday's battle with the Astros. The league also announced a fine for Astros manager Dusty Baker "as part of the incident" between the two clubs. The league did not specify the amount.
Before the punishment, Roberts spoke with reporters and told them that he would address the team about "leaving the bench." He said that league officials "were not happy" about the incidents on Tuesday night. Although Roberts also noted that the game "relieved some tension" following the cheating scandal earlier in the offseason.
Kelly initially sparked criticism when he faced Bregman. He threw a 96-mph fastball in the area of the batter's head with a 3-0 count, sending him to first base. The announcers referred to the throw Kelly "losing it" but also questioned if there was some intent. The viewers expressed similar opinions on social media and called for discipline.
Two batters later, Kelly faced Correa. He threw at the batter, forcing him away from the plate. Kelly then struck out the Astros' hitter and reacted by making a pouty face while walking off the field. He also made multiple comments that drew the ire of the Astros. Both benches cleared but did not ultimately take part in a brawl.
"When you throw a 3-0 fastball over a guy's head, now you're flirting with ending his career," Baker said. "And a couple of other balls were close. And then what really enraged everybody is when he told Carlos … he struck him out and he told him, 'Nice swing, b—.' What are you supposed to do with that? What upset me is the umpire warned us. Why don't you warn him? He's the one throwing the ball and he's the one who started this mess in the first place. I don't like it at all."