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Joe Kelly has been back on the Los Angeles Dodgers for just about a week, and he’s already endearing himself to Dodgers fans again.
Kelly rapidly became a fan favorite in Los Angeles for his contributions during the 2020 season. As the Astros’ cheating scandal unfolded, Kelly had an infamous exchange with then-Astros shortstop Carlos Correa.
Kelly’s combination of a fiery personality with, shall we say, less than ideal control of his pitches, has frequently given rise to disagreements with opposing players. And it happened again on Friday night against the San Diego Padres.
Kelly entered the game in the bottom of the 4th inning and immediately threw a wild pitch, ruled a passed ball, to allow a run to score. Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. led off the fifth and Kelly’s wildness returned.
Trying to keep Tatis from getting his arms extended, Kelly attempted to throw two inside fastballs. Except both tailed far more inside than expected, one in particular nearly hitting Tatis.
The 24-year-old was clearly upset, slamming his helmet in disgust after the second close call. Kelly froze him with a 100mph fastball on the next pitch for a strike out, and was captured by television cameras calling Tatis a “f****** b****” waiting to get the ball back.
As always, there’s a good reason for the “Joe Kelly fight club” shirts.
Joe Kelly Helps Dodgers Dominate Padres Yet Again
Despite giving up a run, Kelly helped limit the potential damage after a shaky start by Bobby Miller.
The Dodgers then blew open a close, tense game in the 8th inning, winning 10-5 to push the Padres 10 games out in the NL West.
It’s the latest disappointment for the Padres against Los Angeles; their sixth consecutive loss to the Dodgers since the Petco Park scoreboard taunted Clayton Kershaw.
Tatis is one of baseball’s best players, and seeing a 100mph fastball come up and in can’t be fun. But he’s also faced an 80-game suspension for PED’s, making him significantly less popular this season outside of San Diego.
Given Kelly’s history of wildness, it’s unlikely he had any intention of hitting Tatis. Either way though, he’s clearly not a fan of the “El Nino” experience.