"Nice swing bitch"

By: coachemup!

Joe Kelly's face while mocking Astros goes viral on social media

Check out the clip:                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coSL_bN1gQw 

Long-simmering tensions between two of baseball’s best teams arose again, at first sleepily, in the form of a 3-0 fastball the Dodgers’ Joe Kelly threw behind Alex Bregman on Tuesday inside empty Minute Maid Park. Bregman shook it off and walked to first. Kelly yawned. 

The next Houston hitter, Michael Brantley, slapped a potential double-play ball to first base. Kelly sprinted to cover the base. The throw came, their feet collided, and Brantley was ruled safe. Kelly later described the contact as incidental, but he lingered around the base for a few seconds when a voice emanated from the Astros dugout. 

“Just get on the mound, little phucker,” it yelled. It sounded like Astros manager Dusty Baker. 

After a four-pitch walk of Yuli Gurriel, Kelly fired a first-pitch curveball at Carlos Correa’s head. Correa ducked out of the way, then stared at Kelly, then stared at the Dodgers’ dugout, then spat. When Correa struck out on a curveball to end the inning, Kelly said something to Correa, the Astros yelled indiscriminately back at him, Kelly made a series of pouty faces toward their dugout and both benches cleared. 

The teams stood within a few feet of each other for about a minute, but they made little physical contact. Many, but not all, players wore masks. Umpires issued warnings to both sides, and play soon resumed. By then, Kelly had morphed into an online fan favorite. 

Baker said three Kelly words ignited the Astros: “Nice swing, bitch.”

Kelly said he did not recall the resulting conversation. The faces he made, he said, were to mimic what he heard from Correa.

“I guess my expression was what I interpreted in my head what he was saying,” Kelly said.

Asked if he thought Kelly was throwing at Bregman and Correa, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts initially said he did not know. Then he wound around to a different answer: He did not think it was intentional.

Kelly offered a straight denial. He said both pitches and others had gotten away from him, and he referenced his well-known wildness, including the April viral video that captured his errant changeup breaking glass at his home.

“My accuracy isn’t the best,” Kelly said. “I broke my window with my newborns coming, two days before they were born.”

Baker did not buy it.

“Balls get away sometimes, but not that many in the big leagues,” he said. “You throw a 3-0 fastball over a guy’s head, now you’re flirting with ending his career. And, a couple other guys, balls were close.”

Kelly is beloved by teammates, but he has a history of throwing at and antagonizing opponents. During Game 1 of the 2013 National League Division Series, he famously broke Dodgers star Hanley Ramirez’s ribs with a 95-mph fastball. In April 2018, he threw a 98-mph fastball at the Yankees’ Tyler Austin and threw several punches in the ensuing brawl. The incident sparked a Joe Kelly Fight Club among Red Sox fans.

“If I think I’m in the right and someone’s gonna get in my face, it’s not gonna be just a bunch of talking crap,” Kelly said in 2019. “It’s gonna go straight to, ‘All right, I shouldn’t have broken the guy’s nose when he just said, ‘F you.’ Maybe I took it too far.’ But I’m not gonna take my time, if I feel like I’m in the right, for something to happen. I’m always gonna be the aggressor, and that helps me out competitively on the field.”

In 2017, Kelly was still with the Red Sox, the first team the Astros beat on their path to a since-tainted World Series win over the Dodgers. He said that did not impact the pitches he threw Tuesday, noting that Boston had defeated Houston in the 2018 playoffs.

The Dodgers never got another crack at the Astros after their 2017 Game 7 loss. Last offseason, it emerged that Houston had cheated its way to that championship, banging on a trash can to signal what pitches were coming. Come spring training, the Dodgers repeatedly vocalized their anger. “Everyone knows they stole the ring from us,” Cody Bellinger said.

Back then, they thought they would not see the Astros again until the World Series, at the earliest. But the pandemic precipitated a shortened, regionalized schedule, and the teams were slated to play two games this week and two in Los Angeles come September.

The Dodgers began this reworked season with four largely lackluster games against the Giants. Before Tuesday’s game, outfielder Joc Pederson predicted the intensity would rise at Minute Maid Park compared to the first series.

“The history is obviously out there,” Pederson said. “Everyone knows what’s at stake and what happened. So for being no fans and the energy sometimes lacking a bit, I don’t think that will be the case for this series.”

Tension has risen across the sport this week, as details surface of a COVID-19 outbreak among Marlins players and coaches marooned in Philadelphia. Major League Baseball has cancelled games with hours of notice. The Dodgers took off for their first road trip on Monday, the day the extent of the outbreak became clear.

Pederson said the team recently re-emphasized the importance of heeding health concerns. The television broadcast showed more Dodgers wearing masks in their dugout Tuesday than during their season-opening series.

“Definitely, there have been a few tougher conversations that needed to be made,” Pederson said. “Just when you get a little bit lackadaisical because of our success rate, especially as the Dodgers, how low it’s been. It’s gonna be something that we need to stay on top of throughout the whole season and not let down.”

The clearing of the benches represented a letdown, a brief one.

Kelly secured the hold by striking out the potential tying run, and he secured the adoration of fans with his playful schoolyard antics. And the Dodgers held the lead and won 5-2.

“Especially with us not playing the best baseball the first four games,” Kelly said, “to be able to come out and win against that team, that was big.”

As Tuesday approached, Roberts steadily minimized the gravity of his team’s unexpected rematch against the Astros. The Dodgers need to win games in this 60-game season, no matter the opponent, he kept saying. As Tuesday neared its end, he acknowledged that, to the players, this series was significant.


“Even before the game, there was kind of a quiet focus, determination in the clubhouse,” Roberts said. “It was different. Obviously, it was probably the opponent.”


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