The most interesting series of the early season has come and gone, and it lived up to the hype. The Houston Astros faced off against the Los Angeles Dodgers in a great two game set. The Dodgers took both in a pair of highly competitive, and contentious, games. The series had a little bit of everything, from great pitching to extra-innings, and of course, benches clearing. Here are some key takeaways from Astros vs Dodgers, round one.
More Bad Blood: Astros vs Dodgers
The most talked about moment from the series was without a doubt is the benches-clearing incident on Tuesday. The already high tensions got even higher when Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly threw a 3-0 fastball over the head of Astros 3B Alex Bregman. Kelly, who is known for his lack of control, threw inside to Yuli Gurriel, who drew a walk. The next batter was Carlos Correa. Kelly threw a pitch right over his head. Correa dropped to the ground to avoid the pitch and stared at Kelly after getting up. Kelly struck Correa out to end the inning and started jawing at him as he was walking back to the dugout. Correa and the Astros didn’t take too kindly to it, and both teams emptied the benches in a not so friendly confrontation.
Nobody was ejected, but Kelly was suspended eight games by MLB. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was suspended a game and Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined. Major League Baseball is sending a message to everyone in the league that if someone incites a benches-clearing incident, they will be punished severely. In this pandemic, a giant congregation of people is the last thing MLB needs, so they are trying to prevent another incident.
What has gotten lost in the Kelly incident, is the actual results of the games. Los Angeles took game one, 5-2. All five of the Dodgers runs came in the fifth, on multiple walks and multiple singles. Houston scored both runs off of starter Walker Buehler, but could not score off of the Dodger bullpen.
Game two was an extra-innings affair, with the Dodgers coming out on top in 13 innings, 4-2. The game was tied, 1-1, after nine innings. Both teams scored in the 11th before Edwin Rios put the Dodgers up for good in the 13th.
Neither lineups looked especially impressive in this series. Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger combined were 2-18 with three walks and one RBI. The trio of Jose Altuve, Bregman, and George Springer combined were 0-21 with five walks. Whether it was bad hitting or great pitching, neither lineup has reached expectations in the early-goings of the 2020 season.
Speaking of great pitching, there was a lot of it between these two teams. Los Angeles pitching allowed just four runs in 22 innings against Houston. Outside of the fifth inning in game one, where Astros pitchers gave up five runs, the young pitchers did great.
With so many injured veteran pitchers, the Astros bullpen is made up almost entirely of rookies. For the most part, the rookies looked strong, they showed the moment wasn’t too big for them. Perhaps most impressive was reigning Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Cristian Javier. The rookie took Justin Verlander’s spot in the rotation and went five and two-thirds innings, giving up one run on two hits and a walk, and striking out eight.
Round one of the Astros vs Dodgers completely lived up to the hype. Fortunately for us, we will get another round of Astros vs Dodgers on September 12 and 13, at Dodger Stadium.
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