Astros Accused Of Instigating Dispute With Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez
Baseball fans have criticized the Houston Astros after the team’s game Wednesday, claiming that the team instigated a fight with Mariners star Julio Rodriguez. In the midst of a tight division race, the Astros were frustrated after two of their batters were hit in the game Tuesday.
“I’m tired of our guys getting hit,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said before the game Wednesday. “It makes guys a lot bolder when they don’t have to hit.”
Baker’s comments were seen by many as loading the powder keg, which nearly exploded in the bottom of the sixth inning when Astros pitcher Hector Neris charged Rodriguez following a strikeout. Neris seemed intent on taunting Rodriguez but he was quickly held back to prevent him from escalating the matter further. Both benches cleared and it took several minutes to resolve the dispute.
“He’s my friend,” Neris told reporters after the game. “Just, it’s part of the game.”
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For his part, Rodriguez said through a spokesperson that he was shocked by Neris’ behavior.
The Astros went on to win the game 8-3, taking the three-game series and a 1.5-game lead in the Wild Card over Seattle. The primary reason for such high tensions was the playoff race, as both teams desperately needed the win in order to earn the last postseason berth. The Rays and Blue Jays have the first two spots, leaving just one for the runner-up in the AL West.
With just a few games remaining for each team, Houston now controls its own destiny in a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Mariners must try to sweep the Texas Rangers in a four-game set, and even then, the Astros could eliminate them with a sweep of their own. There is an exhaustive list of possibilities from there, but in short, Houston’s series win over Seattle put them in a vastly more comfortable position.
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