As the 2020 MLB schedule was torn apart and glued back together in a 60-game format, one interesting quirk soon became apparent.
After an offseason that shed light on the Houston Astros’ cheating in the 2017 regular season and playoffs, the Astros’ opponent in that year’s World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers, was suddenly on their 2020 schedule.
Previously, the Dodgers and Astros weren’t scheduled to face each other in interleague play this year. However, each MLB team’s schedule has changed so they will only be facing their division and the other league’s geographically matching division to cut down on travel. So in addition to playing 40 games against the NL West, the Dodgers will play a total of 20 games against the AL West. Including the Astros.
Given that the Dodgers have made no attempt to hide how livid they are with the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing, the question is now worth asking. Should the Astros be expecting some pitches coming their way when they face the Dodgers?
One Dodgers veteran has already provided his answer.
Kenley Jansen: ‘I’m not going to throw at them’
During an appearance on “The Sedano Show” on ESPN Los Angeles, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen said he feels the Dodgers were cheated in 2017 and should be considered the true champions that year, but he will not be intentionally throwing at the team responsible for that cheating.
From ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:
“I feel like we are the true champions in 2017. It should be us, we got cheated. But if we're going to play (The Astros) this year, I'm not going to throw at them. That's not cool. I don't wish anybody to do that, to throw at people. Just play them and try to be my best.”
Given that intentionally throwing at a player is highly dangerous even with a major leaguer’s command, that’s an understandable stance from Jansen.
Of course, Jansen is just one member of the Dodgers pitching staff. Another member, swingman Ross Stripling, said in spring training that he would have “probably” thrown at an Astros hitter if his offseason trade to the Los Angeles Angels went through. Stripling probably didn’t think he’d be facing the Astros this year when he said that, so maybe his plans will change after a schedule change and at least four more months to cool off.
The Dodgers also aren’t the only team that might want to punish the Astros. The Astros’ league-leading number of HBPs in spring training led many to believe the entire league could be gunning for them, though that was almost certainly a product of bad luck and out-of-practice pitchers.
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