A take on Joe Kelly’s suspension and another loss to Yankees

Might as well express what figures to be an unpopular opinion and then duck.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly got suspended for eight games for throwing at the Houston Astros in the sixth inning Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. He was not even ejected from the game, but he got hammered with this suspension that he is currently appealing.

The Major League Baseball press release stated, “Kelly, who has previously been suspended in his career for intentional throwing, threw a pitch in the area of the head of Alex Bregman and later taunted Carlos Correa, which led to the benches clearing.”

Kelly threw a 96 mph fastball toward the head of Bregman and fired a breaking ball that didn’t break up and in on Correa. Then he taunted Correa.

Baseballs generic.jpgI don’t speak for the fans of baseball, but many seemed to hail Kelly as a hero. They don’t like the Astros, for obvious reasons, and feel the team deserves to be ostracized throughout this year. What happened was something they had coming, many seem to feel.

I can’t really disagree except to say this: You should never throw at someone’s head. Head-hunting is unacceptable in all cases. I don’t want to know the result had a 96 mph heater hit a player in the head. You just can’t do that and must pay a penalty if you do.

The league is not protecting the Astros here, but protecting all hitters in all cases. If Kelly had planted a couple of pitches in the backside or hip of Houston players, there is probably no suspension and the benches probably don’t clear.

I’m sure MLB, during a pandemic, is trying to do all it can to keep players from leaving the benches and bullpens. They are trying to avoid player-to-player contact. You don’t want players to do all the right things for weeks in observing extensive protocols and then have one crazy Kelly cause a brawl to erupt.

To avoid brawls, I’m sure MLB doesn’t want it to become open season on Houston batters. Fans around the game likely feel very differently about that. Houston batters figure to get thrown at again this year, and maybe often. But a pitcher doing so should never be firing a baseball anywhere near someone’s head.

O’s lose to NY again: A 9-3 loss to the Yankees is frustrating, but blowing a lead in the ninth is more so around Birdland, I would think. The Yankees won 8-6 on Aaron Judge’s three-run shot in the ninth. Cole Sulser took the loss, and when home plate umpire Chris Segal seemed to miss his 2-1 pitch to Judge for a strike and called it a ball, Sulser’s next pitch (on a 3-1, not 2-2 count) found too much plate. The result was a blast that gave New York yet another win at Camden Yards.

The Orioles have lost 18 in a row to the Yankees and 17 straight at home. They’ve allowed 48 homers in going 0-12 at home against the Yankees since the start of the 2019 season.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, New York became the first-ever team to hit a home run in 21 straight games against the Orioles. The previous high mark was 20 straight by the Houston Astros from 2015-18 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1999-2000.

Lefty starter John Means returned to the rotation, and even though he gave up a first-inning grand slam, it was great to have him back. He was throwing 95 and 96 mph. He said an adjustment he made during quarantine paid off, and that he had been throwing with more velocity at Bowie before he was activated yesterday.

Travis Lakins Sr. and Richard Bleier had great bullpen outings. The O’s battled from 5-0 down to take the lead on Pedro Severino’s two-run homer in the last of the eighth. There were things to like about that game and hopefully build on.

But another loss to the Yankees no doubt has Birdland in an ornery mood this morning.

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