A day after Joe Kelly's errant pitches caused the benches to clear during Tuesday night's Dodgers-Astros game, MLB has issued suspensions for Kelly and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
Kelly is appealing the suspension and will be available for tonight's game. Astros manager Dusty Baker also received a fine for his role in the incident.
The league's statement on the matter cited Kelly's previous suspension for "intentional throwing," a reference to a 2018 incident in which Kelly incited a brawl between the Yankees and Red Sox after hitting a batter. Kelly was served a six-game suspension then.
The impact of an eight-game suspension during a 60-game season is, of course, much greater. Missing eight games this season is the equivalent of a 22-game suspension for a 162-game season.
Neither Roberts nor Kelly acknowledged any intent for the pitches that nearly hit Astros hitters in their postgame comments Tuesday night.
“I think that that’s Joe’s story to tell,” Roberts said on a Zoom conference afterward, per Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. “I know that he had good stuff today, lost command a bit, reined it back in; that’s good to see.”
“My accuracy isn’t the best,” he said. “I broke my window with my newborns coming, two days before they were born," a reference to an April incident in which he broke a window while throwing in his backyard.
Baker, though, wasn't buying any claims of innocence from the Dodgers.
“Balls get away sometimes, but not that many in the big leagues. ... A 3-0 fastball over a guy’s head, now you’re flirting with ending his career,” Baker said. “What upset me was the umpires warned us. ... Why don’t you warn him? ... He’s the one who started this mess in the first place.”