Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly has been suspended eight games for his actions Tuesday night against the Astros. Kelly is appealing his suspension, so he will be allowed to pitch until the matter is resolved. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has been suspended one game, and Astros manager Dusty Baker received an undisclosed fine as well.
In the sixth inning last night in Houston, Kelly threw a pitch near the head of third baseman Alex Bregman. He did the same to shortstop Carlos Correa, then taunted Correa after striking him out to end the inning. Both teams’ benches emptied, but no punches were thrown and there were no ejections.
Eight games is a significant suspension for a reliever. It amounts to 13% of the season. A 162-game equivalent suspension would be 22 games.
Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a memorandum during the offseason, advising teams to not retaliate against the Astros following the league’s report that the Astros cheated by stealing signs during their championship 2017 season. When the league resumed operations following a three and a half month pause due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the temporary rules for the 2020 season made it illegal for players to instigate altercations. Kelly’s suspension shows the league is at least taking the pandemic seriously and could also be viewed as finally taking beanball wars seriously.