Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly was suspended

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    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 will be available for Wednesday night’s game in Houston as the discipline will be held in abeyance.
    Dodgers manager Dave Roberts received a one-game suspension and bench coach Bob Geren will manage the club on Wednesday managers’ suspensions cannot be appealed. Houston manager Dusty Baker was fined.
    In announcing the discipline Andre Ethier Jersey, 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 Chris Taylor Dodgers Jersey, 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 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers Jersey, 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.
    And in other news, Joe Kelly also pitched a scoreless inning.
    Kelly took on folk-hero status taking on the Astros with an attitude in Tuesday night’s 5-2 Dodgers win and sparking a dugout-clearing incident with trash talk, but he also was part of a tag-team bullpen performance that neutralized the Astros’ potent lineup and gave a glimpse into why manager Dave Roberts has been insisting that relief will be a team strength this year.
    After Walker Buehler’s 3 2/3-inning season debut put the Dodgers down, 2-0, and shortstop Corey Seager made a diving catch on former Dodger Josh Reddick’s line drive to end the fourth inning and save a run, Roberts trotted out a parade of pitchers that shut down Houston on one hit over the final 5 1/3 innings.
    First, it was rookie Brusdar Graterol Corey Seager Jersey, firing triple-digit sinkers in a two-strikeout inning. Kelly overcame a pair of four-pitch walks to put up a zero. Caleb Ferguson, showing off his improved breaking ball, struck out the side. Reclamation project Blake Treinen’s sinker accounted for three groundouts in a scoreless eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched around a double by Carlos Correa for his first save of the year. “Fergy was as good as we’ve seen him in quite some time, that was really good to see,” said Roberts. “Treinen was good and then Kenley. It was really good tonight.”
    It needed to be, because starting for the Dodgers was Buehler, who was behind schedule throughout Summer Camp and wasn’t expected to go deep. He showed flashes of brilliance, striking out three of the first eight batters and retiring 11 of the first 12. But he also allowed a solo home run to Correa in the second inning and three consecutive baserunners with two outs in the fourth, including a four-pitch walk to Yuli Gurriel and Correa’s RBI single for the second run. Buehler was charged with two runs in 3 2/3 innings, making 56 pitches.
    “In the fourth inning, don’t want to say I lost it, but pulled them or pushed them or whatnot,” said Buehler, who was pitching on his 26th birthday. “A little work in progress. Felt good for where my stuff is at. Wish I had gone a little deeper, but the bullpen did an unbelievable job to close them out.”
    While the Dodgers were unleashing that overwhelming bullpen, the depleted Astros tried to rely on unproven commodities and in 4 2/3 innings, the Dodgers put nine runners on base, although they also stranded 11 in the game.
    HOUSTON Astros manager Dusty Baker contended that Joe Kelly threw at least one pitch at one of his players on purpose, but the Dodgers didn’t quite see things the same way on a tense Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
    The Astros and Dodgers the Hatfields and McCoys of Major League Baseball renewed acquaintances for the first time since star players from both teams lobbed insults and accusations in the spring, all of it stemming from the sign-stealing scandal that forced Major League Baseball to issue unprecedented punishment to Houston.
    The Dodgers beat the Astros, 5-2, in their first trip to Houston since losing the World Series in 2017, a series that some of their players feel the Astros stole from them with an elaborate sign-stealing scheme that was revealed in January.
    One inning after the Dodgers scored five times in the fifth to take the lead, Kelly threw pitches behind Alex Bregman and high and tight to Carlos Correa. When he struck out Correa to end the inning, words were exchanged. Benches emptied but no punches were thrown and no one was ejected.
    “When you throw a 3-0 fastball over a guy’s head Fernando Valenzuela Dodgers Jersey, now you’re flirting with ending his career,” Baker said of the Bregman at-bat. “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, [expletive].’ 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.” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t see any bad intent in either of the pitches to Bregman or Correa.
    “I think those guys took a little bit of offense,” he said. “Even the ball to Correa, it was a breaking ball that just backed up. Obviously, the expectation going into this series, things were escalated a little prematurely. That’s what happened. Happy to see nothing came of it. Warnings were issued and we won a baseball game.” Kelly, who was on the Red Sox team that lost in the American League Division Series to the Astros in 2017, said there was no ill will in his errant pitch to Bregman. He joked his accuracy wasn’t the best while referencing breaking the window of his house working on a changeup during the break.
    “It was a ball, obviously,” he said. “Wasn’t my best pitch. It was ball four. Walked him. Never good to put a guy on when you’re leading a game. Something I wasn’t throwing the greatest, wasn’t the most comfortable. Took me a while to get my mechanics.”
    In the spring, Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger said the Astros stole the championship from the Dodgers and that MVP Jose Altuve stole the award from Aaron Judge of the Yankees. Correa, in response, took exception to Bellinger’s words.
    “You’re telling me, you’re telling our team, you’re telling the fans we cheated you out of a World Series championship?” Correa said in February. “He should not be talking about that. He should have done something about that.” Bregman, whose walk-off single in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series ended an epic game the Astros won, 13-12 in 10 innings, in the Dodgers’ previous game in Houston, didn’t want to point fingers Tuesday.
    “I’m angry that we lost the game, to be honest with you,” he said. “We didn’t play our best game tonight, myself included.”
    Baker’s comments weren’t quite as measured.
    “You don’t throw at a guy’s head,” he said. “That’s playing dirty baseball.”The Astros never retaliated with a pair of pitchers making their Major League debuts on the mound handling the final innings. They’ll get three more cracks at the Dodgers, including Wednesday’s series finale at Minute Maid Park.

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