October 26, 2021

Benches clear as Dodgers go after Astros following cheating scandal


  • Houston cheated on way to beating LA in 2017 World Series
  • Players confront each other despite Covid-19 protocols

The Astros and Dodgers benches converge after growing tensions on Tuesday night

The Astros and Dodgers benches converge after growing tensions on Tuesday night.
Photograph: Erik Williams/USA Today Sports

The Houston Astros are trying to put their sign-stealing scandal behind them, but it seems as if the Los Angeles Dodgers have their own thoughts on the matter.

The benches cleared on Tuesday night during the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory over the Astros in the first game between the teams since it was revealed that Houston stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series championship that came at Los Angeles’ expense.

The fracas occurred after Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly threw high-and-tight pitches to Astros stars Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa in the sixth inning.

“Balls get away sometimes but not that many in the big leagues,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “When you throw a 3-0 fastball over a guy’s head you’re flirting with ending his career.”

The Dodgers had a 5-2 lead after a five-run fifth when Kelly, who was with Boston in 2017 and also faced Houston that postseason, threw behind Bregman for ball four. Bregman grimaced after jumping to avoid being hit, then trotted to first base.

L.A. Times Sports

There’s no love lost between the Dodgers and the Astros pic.twitter.com/FDnC1AXCpm

July 29, 2020

There were two outs in the inning when Kelly threw an errant breaking ball over Correa’s head. Correa, who homered and finished with three hits, took off his batting helmet and stared Kelly down before continuing the at-bat.

Kelly struck out Correa, then stuck out his tongue and made a face in his direction. Correa started walking toward him and the players exchanged words, prompting the benches to clear in the first such incident of this pandemic-delayed season. There was plenty of yelling and crowding, both of which are outlawed as MLB tries to play a season amid the pandemic, but there was no pushing or punches thrown.

Baker said things really got out of hand because of something he said Kelly told Correa after the strikeout.

“What really enraged everybody … is when he told him: ‘Nice swing, bitch,’” Baker said. “What are you supposed to do then?”

Baker was asked if the Astros said anything to provoke Kelly.

“We didn’t say anything,” he said. “We don’t start nothing. But we don’t take nothing either.”

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He was asked if there was any added motivation Tuesday since his Red Sox team lost to Houston in the AL Division Series in 2017.

“No. When I was with the Red Sox we beat them in ‘18,” he said. “It’s one of those things that I pitch competitively. With no fans here, it’s easy to hear some stuff [from the opposing dugout] … there’s something they apparently didn’t take too kind to.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts wasn’t sure if Kelly’s errant throws were retaliation for Houston’s cheating.

“I really don’t know, to be quite honest,” he said. “I know he got behind Bregman 3-0 and lost a fastball. I really don’t think there was intent behind that. I think those guys took a little bit of offense. Even the one to Correa, that was a breaking ball that just backed up.

“Obviously the expectation going into the series that things were kind of escalated maybe a little, I don’t know if prematurely’s the word, but that’s kind of what happened.”

Houston were punished by the commissioners’ office in January for the sign-stealing scheme, which led to the firing of general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch. But many players around the league were unhappy that no players were disciplined for their roles in the cheating.

This post originally appeared on and written by:
Associated Press
The Guardian 2020-07-29 13:04:00