By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Red Sox fans are familiar with Joe Kelly, a reliever who doesn’t take any crap from anyone. On Tuesday night, Kelly did what just about every team in MLB wants to do this season: He waged war on the Houston Astros.

The Dodgers have been champing at the bit to get a piece of the Astros since Houston’s elaborate cheating scandal from the 2017 season came to light. The Astros, after all, beat the Dodgers in the World Series that year, and the Dodgers feel fairly cheated out of a championship.

Commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t punish any Astros players for their sign stealing, trash-barrel banging ways, so players will be taking matters into their owns hands this season, doling out a little vigilante justice. With no fans in the stands to berate the Astros every time they hit the road, it’s up to the players to exact some sort of revenge.

Enter Kelly. The occasionally erratic reliever struggled with his command in his one inning against the Astros on Tuesday. Or, he put every pitch exactly where he wanted. You be the judge, but we’re leaning toward the latter.

The fireworks started when Kelly sent a 96 mph fastball behind the head of Alex Bregman in the sixth inning. That pitch came on a 3-0 count. As Bregman took his base, Kelly reacted with a yawn.

A few batters later, Kelly nearly hit Yuli Gurriel with a curveball. Then a few more curveballs went up and in on Carlos Correa, one of which sent the shortstop to the ground.

The reliever eventually got Correa swinging to end the inning, and mocked Correa as he walked off the mound with an expression you usually reserve for someone in traffic.

A choice word was also sent Correa’s way, which prompted both benches to clear and more choice words to fly between the two clubs.

Kelly summed it up in a way only Joe Kelly could after the game — a 5-2 Dodgers win.

“My accuracy isn’t the best,” he said. (Kelly has a broken window at home to prove it, too.)

He added that his exchange with Correa was something that happened in the heat of the moment, and he wasn’t even sure what he said to the Astros shortstop. But it’s possible a “you have to cheat to hit” was also sent as a verbal brush-back.

Kelly wasn’t on the 2017 Dodgers team that lost to the Astros in the Fall Classic, though he and the Red Sox were swept by the Astros in the AL Divisional Round that year. But it’s clear that the Dodgers are still pretty bitter about 2017, and are more than happy to remind the Astros that they feel robbed of a World Series title.

We may not get the full season of the Astros Shame Tour that many teams were salivating over, but if Kelly and the Dodgers’ actions on Tuesday night was any indication, there will be more fireworks this summer.

UPDATE: Kelly has been suspended by Major League Baseball for eight games. He is appealing the decision. Click here for more details.

Comments (2)
  1. Bob says:

    love Kelly

  2. CrowBB says:

    My new favorite player. Astros not only got away with cheating over multiple seasons, but mocked the rest of the league about it. Good job, Mr. Kelly!

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