After Tuesday evening’s bench-clearing incident in Houston, Major League Baseball has issued several suspensions which will affect the Dodgers as early as Wednesday’s finale.
Joe Kelly has been suspended for eight games for his involvement in the incident. The right-handed reliever is appealing the ruling and will be available to throw out of the bullpen Wednesday.
Los Angeles Manager Dave Roberts was issued a one game suspension. He decided to serve the punishment immediately and will miss Wednesday’s finale. Bench Coach Bob Geren will serve as manager in Roberts’ absence.
Houston skipper Dusty Baker was issued an undisclosed fine.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Roberts said that MLB officials “weren’t pleased” with players and staff not observing distancing protocols during Tuesday night’s incident.
Both benches cleared after Kelly struck out Carlos Correa for the final out of the sixth inning. Consequently, Kelly apparently mocked the shortstop on his trip back to the Dodger Dugout. Three batters prior, Kelly threw a 96 MPH fastball behind the head of third baseman Alex Bregman, causing the pre-existing tensions between the two squads to escalate.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reported on Wednesday morning that what enraged Baker’s players was when Kelly told Correa, “Nice swing, bitch,” upon striking him out.
Nightengale added that Baker doesn’t expect any retaliation on Wednesday by the Astros.
“Probably not. I don’t have a crystal ball. How do I know? We didn’t start it last night,” Baker said to Nightengale.
According to ESPN, the MLB, in reaching its conclusion, cited that Kelly had previously been suspended for “intentional throwing” at a hitter. Kelly was suspended for six games in April 2018 after hitting Tyler Austin of the Yankees.
Kelly was not a member of the Dodgers when the initial sign stealing incidents took place during the 2017 World Series.
Gurnick added that Roberts believed the incident released some tensions after a buildup since January. He also reported that Roberts had a brief discussion with his team about leaving the bench, stating that “if Houston retaliates (on Wednesday), he believes the umpires will handle it.”