Houston Astros relief pitcher Bryan Abreu has been handed a two-game suspension and a fine by Major League Baseball (MLB) for intentionally throwing a pitch at Adolis García of the Texas Rangers during Game 5 of the AL Championship Series. MLB determined that all six umpires agreed that Abreu’s pitch was deliberate, and the decision took into account the potential risk to player safety due to the pitch’s dangerous nature.
Abreu’s suspension will commence with Game 6 unless he opts to appeal the decision. His pitch incited a benches-clearing incident, leading to a 12-minute delay in the game.
MLB’s senior vice president, Michael Hill, announced the suspension, with the appeal process to be overseen by John McHale Jr., a special assistant to commissioner Rob Manfred.
Alongside Abreu, García and Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. were fined, as was Texas pitcher Matt Bush. McCullers and Bush have been banned from sitting on their team benches for the remainder of the series.
Houston manager Dusty Baker received a fine for his actions following his ejection during the incident. Baker remained in the Astros’ dugout for six minutes before heading to the clubhouse.
Baker expressed his thoughts on the incident and his decision to stay in the dugout after being ejected, stating that he believed the situation shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
As for potential carryover of emotions from the altercation into Game 6, both managers had differing perspectives. While Baker hinted at the possibility, Texas manager Bruce Bochy didn’t foresee a repeat of the incident.
The Rangers will have Nate Eovaldi on the mound for Game 6. Eovaldi, who hails from Alvin, the same Houston suburb where Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan grew up, has excelled in the postseason, going 3-0. He is eager to face a Houston team that has scored 23 runs in the last three games after managing only four in their two previous wins.
For the Astros, their struggles at home in the regular season have continued in the postseason, with a 1-3 record at Minute Maid Park. They managed to take a 3-2 series lead by sweeping three games in Arlington.
Baker acknowledged the ongoing questions about the team’s home vs. away performance but emphasized that actions speak louder than words, and the Astros need to perform.
Houston’s starting pitcher, Framber Valdez, has had a challenging postseason, with a 0-2 record and an 11.57 ERA in two starts. However, Baker isn’t overly concerned about Valdez’s emotions, emphasizing that his focus should be on precise pitching.
Valdez expressed gratitude for the opportunity to redeem himself and help the Astros secure another World Series berth.
Regarding the choice of jerseys, the Astros wore orange for their three wins in Arlington after losing in white and navy jerseys. Valdez noted that jersey color isn’t as important as competing effectively.