Benches Clear Between Dodgers, Astros After Joe Kelly Buzzes Bregman, Correa

John Healy
July 28, 2020 - 11:41 pm
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The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers met on Tuesday in a 2017 World Series rematch and first time since the 2017 Astros were exposed for their sign-stealing scandal.

So, naturally, there were some fireworks.

In the sixth inning with the Dodgers leading 5-2 and no one on base, Los Angeles reliever Joe Kelly fired a fastball up and way in on Alex Bregman.

Bregman remained silent and took his base without much fanfare over the incident.

Two batters later, with runners on first and second and two outs, Kelly lost control of a breaking ball that went up in and in on Carlos Correa and hit the backstop, allowing the runners to advance.

Despite it being a breaking ball, Correa took his helmet off and wiped his forehead while glaring toward the mound at Kelly.

Kelly struck out Correa to end the inning and the two exchanged words, which led the benches and bullpens clearing.

The two teams approached each other but things did not escalate from there and no contact was made between either team, although social distancing was not necessarily being followed as they congregated together, violating MLB's protocols in place.

Manager Dusty Baker was especially fired up, and spoke on the incident after the game was over.

"Balls get away sometimes," Baker said (via MLB.com). "But not that many in the big leagues.

"You going to throw at somebody, you don't throw at a guy's head. That's dirty baseball."

The veteran manager, who replaced A.J. Hinch after the former Astros skipper was suspended from MLB and fired by the team, also alleges that Kelly screamed "Nice swing b****!" after downing Correa on strikes. It was this act, along with the decisions of the umpire, that Baker claims caused the tensions to boil over.

"What upset me is the umpire warned us," Baker said. "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.

"We don't start nothing. But we don't take nothing either..."

Alternatively, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts found that the Astros took offense to a couple of pitches that just happened to get away from Kelly.

"I know that he got behind to Bregman 3-0 and lost a fastball," Roberts said. "I really don't think there was intent behind that. I think that those guys took a little bit of offense. Even the ball to Correa, it was a breaking ball that just backed up."

Whether or not Kelly was intentionally throwing at the Astros may be difficult to prove. The right-hander was a bit erratic the whole inning. However, all he said of the pitch to Bregman was that it "wasn't (his) best."

Kelly, who was on the Boston Red Sox team in 2017 that the Astros knocked out in the ALDS, walked Yuli Gurriel in addition to buzzing Bregman and Correa.

And who could forget the video Kelly shared while quarantined where he accidentally broke the window of his house while throwing a weighted ball in his backyard? Clearly, control is a bit of an issue for the right-hander.

Yet, with one Astros player getting hit and another getting buzzed, it is easy to see how tensions could rise in that situation.

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