A controversial series was expected when we first learned the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astro will meet in Houston this week.
A controversial series is exactly what we are already getting.
Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly cleared in Tuesday’s series opener after unsolding a pair of pitches that did not sit well with the Astro batsmen.
The first was a 96 MPH fastball that landed on a 3–0 pitch behind Alex Bragman.
The second was a curbball that forced Carlos Correia to remove from the path.
Although he did not hit either batsman, the fastball had some clear intentions behind it.
It was not clear until after the start of the bench, when Kelly did so after ousting Correia.
Of course, discontent stems from the Astro sign-theft scandal.
Many believe – the Dodgers players included – it was Los Angeles that lost the most as a direct result of Houston’s plan. After all, it was the Dodgers who fell to Houston in the 2017 World Series, when the sign-theft scheme was reportedly at its height. The Dodgers players have been vocal about it over the past few months. In fact, Jock Pederson referred to it just before the game.
#Dodgers Whichever team wins the World Series this year, they do not think there should be an asterisk to their name. “They are not cheating their way to get there,” he said.
– Bill Shakin (@BillShaikin) 28 July 2020
All this led to speculation that some form of vengeance was forthcoming.
For the first five innings, Tuesday’s game was uneven. She immediately changed as Kelly entered. The 32-year-old has previously been involved in retaliatory smuggling. With the Boston Red Sox in 2018, he was suspended for six games for beating Tyler Austin in retaliation for the controversial slide.
When the bench was empty, no punch was thrown. A suspension may still be assigned given the circumstances. A fine is almost certain.
In recent months, baseball’s newest budding rivalry was forced to take a backseat on more important issues taking the league and the nation forward. But after Tuesday, it has become clear that this bad blood will not end anytime soon.