When the Houston Astros were found to have cheated their way to the 2017 World Series title, baseball fans knew opposing pitchers would be out for blood this year. Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and the rest of the remaining roster had a massive target on their backs entering the 2020 season. Players wanted revenge, and one of them just got it.
Joe Kelly, who was on the Red Sox team that lost to the Astros in the 2017 playoffs, just handed out some payback to the team that could’ve cost him a World Series ring. Americans collectively gave him a standing ovation from their couches.
The 2017 Houston Astros cheated their way to a World Series
When the Astros won the 2017 World Series, most baseball fans agreed they were the best team all season and deserved a championship. Years later, though, it was revealed that Houston used an intricate cheating system to steal signs and relay them to hitters all season.
The Astros used a camera in center field to pick up the catcher’s signs with ease. The video would feed into a monitor in the clubhouse tunnel, where players dissected the signs in real time. Bench players would then bang on trash cans or use other methods to alert the hitter of the upcoming pitch.
Houston could only pull off the sign-stealing rouse at their home park, and the stats reflected it. As a team, the Astros hit .273 at home and .208 away from Houston throughout the postseason. They went 8-1 at Minute Made Park and 3-6 on the road.
Many teams believed they were cheated out of a World Series in 2017. One of those players was Joe Kelly.
Joe Kelly and the Red Sox lost to the Astros in the 2017 ALDS
When the story of the Astros cheating their way to a World Series title broke last offseason, former Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly clearly had revenge on his mind.
Kelly was on the Red Sox team that lost to the Astros in the 2017 ALDS. In that series, the Houston offense batted a combined .333. The Astros won the first two games of the series at Minute Made Park, and they scored eight runs in each game.
Kelly actually had success against the Astros, posting 2.2 scoreless innings and picking up the win in Game 3. However, Boston finished the series with a 6.35 team ERA, and Houston won in four games.
Kelly got his revenge on the Astros and became America’s hero in the process
On Tuesday night, Kelly faced off against the Astros for the first time since learning about the cheating scandal. He wasted no time sending a message.
When Alex Bregman stepped up to the plate, Kelly sent him flailing back with a 96-mph fastball behind his head. A few batters later, Kelly threw another pitch at Carlos Correa’s head that made him duck out of the way.
Kelly ended up striking out Correa to end the inning, and he had some choice words for the notorious cheater.
“Nice swing b—h,” Kelly apparently uttered. He then mocked Correa with a crybaby face and talked even more smack on the way back to the dugout. The benches briefly cleared as Correa approached Kelly, but nothing else came from the dust-up.
Baseball Twitter lit up with praise for the Dodgers pitcher. Evidently, MLB fans love to see the Astros struggle. Well, good news for them. This won’t be the last instance of pitchers getting revenge against the cheating franchise this season.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference