The Los Angeles Dodgers visited the White House on Friday to be honored for winning the World Series, and no one looked cooler doing it than Joe Kelly.
Prior to Tuesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants, Kelly approached a member of Jaime Cuellar’s Mariachi Garibaldi band and offered to make him a trade — a game jersey for a jacket. The gentleman accepted.
Joe Kelly traded his Dodgers jersey for a @mgarijc mariachi jacket
It’s a well-known fact that relievers and left-handers are both a bit strange sometimes. Combine the two and you get people like Joe Kelly, who definitely has some quirks to him.
Kelly battled control issues throughout 2020, walking a career-worst 6.3 batters per nine innings. Things have turned around in 2021, and through 16 innings, the Los Angeles Dodgers reliever’s walks per nine are a career-low 2.3.
To what does he owe this success? According to manager Dave Roberts, it’s the fact that Kelly has an alter ego, Joseph, who is a strike thrower.
Dave Roberts said Joe Kelly came up with his own alter ego Joseph. Joseph is a strike thrower.
Look, if it works, you can’t argue with results. So far, it’s working for Kelly, at least in the strike-throwing department. Now we just need to find out if this whole confrontation was the work of Joe or Joseph.
The feud between Joe Kelly and Lance McCullers is getting a little personal.
The war of words between the two pitchers began last week when Kelly, the Los Angeles Dodgers righty, shaded the Houston Astros over their cheating scandal and for then allowing their coaches to take the fall. That prompted McCullers, the Astros right-hander, to fire right back at Kelly, blasting him for being misinformed and also for being a member of the 2018 Boston Red Sox team that was investigated for cheating as well.
On Wednesday, it was Kelly’s wife Ashley’s turn to respond. In a post to her Instagram Story, Ashley scoffed at the idea that her husband was afraid of Astros slugger Carlos Correa, which McCullers had also alluded to.
“You, McMuffin,” she wrote. “Anyone who knows or has played with the ‘skinny motherf–ker” would know that he would attempt to take on a 300lb offensive lineman knowing that he would lose. He’s not afraid of anyone … especially your pal (who honestly has a nice swing).
Ashley then concluded her remarks by wishing McCullers the best of luck.
Trevor Bauer is clearly on the side of Joe Kelly when it comes to the Houston Astros.
The Cincinnati Reds pitcher showed off his cleats for Wednesday’s game in honor of Kelly. One features the famous face the Dodgers reliever made at Carlos Correa and the Astros in a late July game, while the other simply has “Free Joe Kelly” on it.
And the moment you've all been waiting for…..here's a look at my cleats for tonight's start. FREE JOE KELLY! If you want to be eligible for a chance to win these, see next tweet for details. pic.twitter.com/WR0LrNpgCC
The war of words between Joe Kelly and Houston Astros players continues unabated.
Kelly recently blasted the Astros in an appearance on “The Big Swing” podcast with teammate Ross Stripling, criticizing Houston’s players for letting coaches take the fall for their sign-stealing system. Kelly said that bothered him more than the cheating itself.
Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. appeared on Jayson Stark’s “Starkville” podcast and criticized Kelly, both for his characterization of the Astros as snitches, and for calling them out despite being a member of the 2018 Boston Red Sox team that was also accused of stealing signs electronically.
McCullers said he and his teammates never asked for immunity, and that MLB offered it from the outset in exchange for honest testimony.
“These (opposing) players have no idea what this investigation was like. They have no idea the lengths that the MLB went to beyond speaking to players.” McCullers told Stark. “Actually, speaking to players was probably the least part of their whole investigation. I can’t go into it because I don’t know how much I am or am not allowed to say. But I’ll say that … the notion that, oh, players negotiated immunity, players then were interviewed and rolled on everyone just to save themselves, isn’t the case. And that’s as much as I can say. That’s not what happened. That’s not how this went down. So if that’s what people are upset about, then I guess we can all move on because that’s not how it happened.”
McCullers also said that the only “snitch” was “the person who spoke to ‘The Athletic,'” a shot at former teammate Mike Fiers.
The Astros pitcher was also critical of Kelly for going after the Astros when he was not a member of the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers team that lost the World Series to Houston, as well as the fact that Kelly’s 2018 Red Sox were also investigated and punished for electronically stealing signs.
“I made the (statement) that Joe wasn’t on that (2017 Dodgers) team (that lost to Houston in the World Series). Joe was actually on a different team that was also investigated for the same thing,” McCullers said of the 2018 Boston team. “And their (video-room operator was) penalized. And he was on that team. So baseball got it right? I don’t know.”
McCullers has openly spoken out against Kelly regarding the Dodgers pitcher’s role in the late July incident between the two teams. He appears ready to continue doing so as long as Kelly keeps speaking out.
Joe Kelly became the first pitcher this season to draw a suspension for blatantly throwing at Houston Astros players, but his motivation for sending a message may be a bit surprising to some.
Kelly, who was not with the Los Angeles Dodgers when Houston beat them in the 2018 World Series, discussed his disdain for the Astros during a recent appearance on “The Big Swing” podcast with teammate Ross Stripling. The right-hander said the way Houston players got immunity in MLB’s investigation of their sign-stealing scheme and ratted out their coaches bothered him way more than the cheating itself.
“The people who took the fall for what happened is nonsense,” Kelly said, as transcribed by ESPN’s Buster Olney. “Yes, everyone is involved. But the way that (sign-stealing system) was run over there was not from coaching staff. … They’re not the head boss in charge of that thing. It’s the players. So now the players get the immunity, and all they do is go snitch like a little b—-, and they don’t have to get fined, they don’t have to lose games.”
Former Astros bench coach Alex Cora was Kelly’s manager with the Boston Red Sox, and Cora lost his job over the Astros scandal along with general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch. Kelly said Cora hasn’t explained his side of the story “because he’s a respectable man” and blasted Astros players for “ruining other people’s lives.”
“Maybe they have called AC (Cora) and said, ‘Hey, I’m sorry.’ Or called Luhnow and said, ‘Hey, I’m sorry.’ Or called Hinch, and (Carlos) Beltran. … If they had said, ‘Hey, I’m super-scared, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to lose money, I had to rat.’ … Grow a pair of balls and say that,” Kelly said.
“Hey guys, with the suspension I received from the @mlb for my actions on Tuesday, I’d like to apologize… TO ABSOLUTELY NOBODY! THE ASTROS ARE HIDING IN THEIR DUGOUTS BECAUSE I’M SUSPENDED. Just wait till I get out.”
What had so many people thrown off is that the account that posted the photo is @joe.kelly17, which looks like it could belong to the Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher. In actuality, it’s a fan-run account and does not represent Kelly.
The photo was taken from one Kelly’s wife posted on Instagram in June.
Lance McCullers Jr. was critical of Joe Kelly for throwing at several Houston Astros players on Tuesday night.
Kelly threw a pitch behind Alex Bregman’s head and also taunted Carlos Correa during the bottom of the sixth inning of the Dodgers’ 5-2 win.
Though Kelly tried to deny throwing at Houston’s players intentionally, it was pretty obvious that the Dodgers reliever was trying to send a message to the Astros for cheating by illegally relaying stolen signs in real-time via technology in 2017. Houston beat the Dodgers in the World Series that year; Kelly was a member of the Boston Red Sox that season.
McCullers, who has spent his entire career with the Astros, called Kelly’s actions “unprofessional”.
“Joe Kelly threw a ball behind Bregman’s head on 3-0 on purpose,” McCullers said Wednesday, via ESPN Alden Gonzalez. “Not only did he take it upon himself to send a message, but he wasn’t even part of the team during that  season. We knew coming into the game that he likes to go off script. It is what it is. It was done unprofessionally. What he did after he punched out Correa was unprofessional. Running into the dugout was unprofessional. So it is what it is. We’re here to play baseball. We just wanna win. That’s it.”
Joe Kelly’s suspension for throwing at Houston Astros players has once again sparked a debate over whether the punishment fit the crime.
MLB was widely criticized for not suspending any Astros players for their roles in the team’s 2017 sign-stealing scandal, with many feeling that the players who both created and benefited from the program completely got away with it while manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow took the fall for them.
Those feelings once again came to the forefront Wednesday, when MLB suspended Kelly for eight games for throwing near the heads of both Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. As was noted by many, Kelly received a harsher punishment for throwing at Astros players than any Houston player did for stealing signs.
Leading the charge was Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger, who vented his anger over the lack of punishment for Houston’s players in response to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman remarking that Kelly “earned” his suspension.
And what do the astros players deserve Jon? Just snitch and walk free and still seem confused as to why everyone is mad? https://t.co/Iztyr30NXy
New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman retweeted several of Clevinger’s tweets and then took it a step further, saying that Kelly didn’t deserve to be suspended at all.
Makes zero sense Ken. He wasn’t even thrown out of the game. MLB siding with/protecting a team that openly and knowingly cheated their way to a World Series. He doesn’t deserve to be suspended at all. Hoping he wins his appeal. Looking forward to seeing you back out there JK! pic.twitter.com/Lekx8NHLRp
It’s bizarre for Stroman to say that this makes zero sense. MLB ruled that Kelly threw at two players and came dangerously close to their heads. It does not matter what the justification is — that’s both illegal and dangerous, and if MLB thinks Kelly threw those pitches on purpose, he absolutely deserves to be suspended. That, not taunting, is the primary reason he got such a lengthy ban. MLB isn’t protecting Bregman and Correa because they play for the Astros — they’re doing it because being thrown at is dangerous to any hitter.
It’s also worth a reminder that, by most accounts, any attempts by MLB to suspend Astros players for their role in the cheating scandal likely would have ended in failure. There’s a strong argument that the league should have done much more to punish Houston’s players for what they did, but the fact that MLB fell short doesn’t mean pitchers shouldn’t face consequences if they target Astros hitters.
The Astros’ cheating story had somewhat fallen out of the headlines due to the delayed season. At the very least, this serves as proof that players haven’t forgotten and are still furious with both the Astros and with MLB for letting them off the hook.