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Elephant Rumblings: Dodgers Joe Kelly has suspension reduced after appeal

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

As Oakland A’s outfielder Ramon Laureano waits through the appeals process for his six-game suspension, another MLB player received a favorable result in a similar situation.

Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his own suspension reduced from eight games to five, reports Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports as well as Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel of ESPN.

Like Laureano, Kelly’s penalty came after a dust-up with the Houston Astros. He threw at Astros hitters’ heads several times, although he never actually hit anyone, and then after the inning he did so much taunting on the way back to the dugout that the benches cleared. Click here to see a full rundown from Jomboy.

Meanwhile, Laureano was also punished for an incident with the Astros. After he was hit by a pitch for the second time that game and third time in the series, Astros coach Alex Cintron advanced out of the dugout toward him, aggressively picking a fight, and he got his wish when Laureano charged at the dugout toward him. Cintron hid behind his players rather than meet the fight he’d specifically asked for.

For that, Laureano got a six-game suspension, but he appealed it and is awaiting his results. There aren’t really any direct comparisons between his case and Kelly’s, other than coming against Houston and involving non-fight scrums, so just because Ross got a reduction doesn’t mean Laureano necessarily will. But it’s a reminder that reductions can happen and that they frequently do.

My original guess immediately after the incident (pure speculation) was that Laureano would end up serving five games. That’s still a distinct possibility.

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As a reminder, here’s the scorecard so far. The Astros were victims of a pitcher who didn’t hit anybody, and a fight where no punches were thrown, and for that their opponents were punished with significant suspensions (as per normal precedent). Meanwhile, the Astros pegged five A’s batters in three games, and then actively instigated a brawl after one of those hitters had the audacity to object, and their penalty is one of their back-end coaches, who doesn’t even have an on-field role during games, will have to go home from work early every day for a few weeks but can still 100% do his job.

This is a failure by MLB, and at some point they’re going to have to do something about the Astros. This can’t continue, and it will only get worse as players get more and more bitter toward Houston. Someone is going to get hurt and it’s going to be squarely on Rob Manfred’s hands.

Also remember: It’s not too late for the Astros to do the right thing themselves. Fire Cintron, who is also a known cheater who received zero repercussions for his confirmed role in the 2017 cheating scandal. Turns out he’s also wholly unfit to be an MLB coach. How and why is he still employed in MLB? Just because Manfred and the league are too weak-willed to take action, doesn’t mean Houston can’t just do it themselves.

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