'We can move on and play baseball': Dodgers get vengeance in sweeping series vs. Astros

Internet US 2020-08-01 12:22:19
'We can move on and play baseball': Dodgers get vengeance in sweeping series vs. Astros

HOUSTON — The Los Angeles Dodgers came into town knowing they couldn’t bring the 2017 World Series trophy back on the team plane with them, or even venture out for fun at night, but for a 48-hour period, they sure managed to create plenty of havoc deep in the heart of Texas.

The Dodgers, seeking personal vengeance upon their arrival, swept the mini two-game series by beating the Houston Astros, 4-2, in a 13-inning marathon game Wednesday night. They also promised to make T-shirts of the man who took the law into his own hands, reliever Joe Kelly.

“I think it’d be wishful thinking to think that we were just going to come in and play two games and nothing combative (was) to happen,’’ Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling said. “Joe is as good a candidate as anyone to stir something up even though he wasn’t on that 2017 team. You could tell he was as fired up as anyone.”

The Dodgers may have lost Kelly, who received an eight-game suspension for deliberately throwing over the head of Alex Bregman and taunting Carlos Correa with a few choice words on Tuesday night, but, hey, they’ve never had a more enjoyable trip to Houston.

“You know, this is something that’s been built up over the course of seven months after kind of the findings,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who was suspended for Wednesday’s game. “I think it just sort of, kind of released. I think it was unfortunate, but I guess to spin it, it’s a good thing that we got it out of the way, nobody was hurt and we can move on and play baseball.”

The Dodgers then spent the evening almost torturing the Astros, playing for 4 hours, 44 minutes, and despite having the new rules of starting the 10th inning with a runner on second base – which is supposed to quickly end extra-inning games – they still managed to play the longest game of the season.

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It was Edwin Rios who finally ended the fun by hitting a two-run homer to lead off the 13th inning, making him wonder aloud why MLB bothered with the new extra-inning rule if the games are going to last this long, anyways?

“I don’t know, it’s weird,’’ Rios said. “I feel like the game can just go, I mean, it’s the same thing. We played how many innings tonight, 13, 14? It’s almost the same thing. Extra innings are extra innings." 

The strangest part of the historic extra-inning game is that there was not a single bunt attempt by either team. Everyone simply hit away. It was Mookie Betts, the Dodgers’ new $365 million man, who gave L.A. a one-run lead in the top of the 11th. Correa then tied it in the bottom of the 11th, with neither team getting another hit until the 13th.

Really, the thought of bunting, Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker said, really never came to mind with his star-studded lineup.

“I didn’t think about that,’’ Baker said. “They didn’t bunt. We didn’t bunt. Nobody bunted.’’

It wound up haunting the Astros, who stranded 15 baserunners, compared to just eight for the Dodgers. One of Houston's biggest stars, George Springer, is now hitting .048 (one for 21) for the season.

The Astros will now hit the road for the first time this season, hoping that the vengeance tour is over, but unknowing of what lies ahead.

“I think that the punishments are fair,’’ said Baker, who was also fined since his players came onto the field during the bench-clearing incident. “It’s no big deal, I’ll just pay the fine.’’

MLB sent a heavy message to everyone in the game with Kelly’s lengthy suspension that this is no time to seek vengeance during a pandemic. Maybe it will resonate with Astros’ opponents the rest of the season. We’ll soon find out with the Astros scheduled to play their next nine games on the road against the Los Angeles Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland Athletics.

“We’ve talked about playing baseball, straight up,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s what I’m anticipating. That’s all I’m looking for. If you were immediately impacted by (the Astros’ sign-stealing), I could get it a little bit.

“But then you saw the commissioner’s response. So, you got to choose the method you want to incorporate, and I would prefer that we just go play baseball.”

There was no shenanigans or extra-curricular activity in Wednesday’s game, just as each manager predicted, so maybe now it is over.

'We can move on and play baseball': Dodgers get vengeance in sweeping series vs. Astros

Considering there are a whole lot more important things going on in the world than sign stealing in baseball games from three years ago, maybe it’s time to forgive and forget.

Then again, maybe the Dodgers still have no plans to ever forget, already planning to print T-shirts with Kelly contorting his face and pouting out his lower lip towards Correa after striking him out Tuesday.

“The face that he made is one of the funnier things I’ve ever seen on a baseball field,’’ Stripling said, “and then obviously it went viral on social media.

“Now we’re all excited we’ll have new shirts to wear for [batting practice] and stuff like that.’’

Maybe, the Dodgers will even wear those T-shirts during batting practice when the teams meet again Sept. 12-13 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Who knows for sure, but for a two-game series in July, these two teams provided drama that certainly won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

'We can move on and play baseball': Dodgers get vengeance in sweeping series vs. Astros

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