Joe Kelly can't stop hitting people
There was certain to be some bad blood brewing when the Astros hosted the Dodgers this week, but Los Angeles reliever Joe Kelly rose tensions to a whole other level on Tuesday night.
Kelly nearly hit Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa in the head in the sixth inning on Tuesday, and the true fireworks came after Kelly struck out Correa. Both benches emptied to a degree after Kelly fanned—and subsequently taunted—Correa, leading to as close to a fight as you’ll see in the social distancing era. Perhaps we’ll see more bad blood on Wednesday.
Tuesday night didn’t mark Kelly’s first moment of controversy. The righthander incited a brawl between the Yankees and Red Sox in 2018 after he hit New York DH Tyler Austin. Kelly’s reputation as the game’s biggest pest is no secret.
The ethics of throwing at players is murky, and Kelly was certainly out of line for brining his pitch against Bregman up near the helmet. But it’s hard to see Kelly having significant remorse over Tuesday night’s incident. The reliever is now public enemy No. 1 in Houston, a role he’ll likely embrace in 2020. Kelly is far from being one of baseball’s best pitchers. But he’s unmatched as an instigator.
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