Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Punches were thrown during a benches-clearing brawl between the Blue Jays and Rangers

75 Comments

The Blue Jays and Rangers are not the best of friends. Jose Bautista sent the Jays into the ALCS last year with a three-run home run and famously flipped his bat, something that would become the subject of many discussions in the ensuing months.

The two clubs met for the first time since the ALDS for a four-game set in Toronto on May 2. There was some speculation that the Rangers might try to exact revenge on Bautista, but the series was completed without incident.

This weekend’s three-game set in Texas between the two games almost finished without incident. The Jays won the first game on Friday 5-0, and the Rangers used a Drew Stubbs walk-off home run on Saturday to win 6-5.

Rangers reliever Matt Bush came in as relief in the seventh inning, allowing an inherited runner to score to push the Jays’ lead to 6-3. He came back out to start the eighth inning, facing Bautista. His first pitch was a 96 MPH fastball that hit Bautista and was, without question, done with intent. Bautista wasn’t happy about it. Both teams were issued a warning. Bautista was discussing the incident with first base umpire Dale Scott.

After Edwin Encarnacion flied out and Jake Diekman came in to relieve Bush, Justin Smoak hit a ground ball to third baseman Adrian Beltre. Beltre threw the ball to second baseman Rougned Odor who whipped around to first to complete the double play. Bautista slid late into Odor, also obviously done with intent to harm. Odor wasn’t happy about it and threw punches at Bautista, one of which landed flush. The benches quickly emptied.

Jesse Chavez, who had entered in the bottom of the seventh and allowed a three-run home run and a single before getting the final out of the frame, started the bottom of the eighth. He threw a first-pitch fastball that hit Prince Fielder. Chavez was immediately ejected and the benches emptied again. Things calmed down quicker than before, but it was still a messy affair.

There were so many ejections…

  • Blue Jays: first base coach Tim Leiper (ejected in the third inning), manager John Gibbons, pitcher Jesse Chavez, right fielder Bautista, third baseman Josh Donaldson, bench coach DeMarlo Hale
  • Rangers: second baseman Odor, bench coach Steve Buechele

Odor is likely looking at a lengthy suspension and a fine. Bush, Bautista, and Chavez at the very least are also likely looking at suspensions and fines. What a messy situation.

The two teams don’t play each other again for the rest of the regular season.

Dodgers upset with Héctor Neris after Thursday’s game

Hunter Martin/Getty Images
10 Comments

July hasn’t treated Phillies closer Héctor Neris well. Entering Thursday, he had allowed runs in three of his last four appearances, blowing two saves in the process. His struggles continued as he allowed a two-out solo home run to Alex Verdugo in the bottom of the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon, closing the deficit to 7-6. Thankfully for the Phillies, he was able to get the final out, getting Justin Turner to fly out to right field. An excited Neris looked into the Dodgers’ dugout and yelled an expletive.

The four-game series between the Dodgers and Phillies had quite some drama. After Matt Beaty hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning on Tuesday, Neris threw a pitch at the next batter, David Freese, seemingly in frustration. Neris was suspended three games. He appealed his punishment, which is why he’s been allowed to pitch. In the fourth inning of Thursday’s game, Max Muncy and Beaty stepped on first baseman Rhys Hoskins‘ ankle on consecutive plays. That, along with his own struggles, explains why Neris might’ve been amped up after closing out the ballgame.

The Dodgers were, understandably, not happy about Neris yelling at them. Several players shouted back, including Clayton Kershaw and Russell Martin. An unamused Muncy glared at Neris. Martin suggested to Neris that they meet in the hallway.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game, “I think we played this series the right way, played it straight. To look in our dugout and to taunt in any way, I think it’s unacceptable. Look in your own dugout.”

Muncy said, “He’s blown about eight saves against us over the last two years. I guess he was finally excited he got one. Whatever.”

Neris attributed his outburst to emotions, saying, “It’s a great win for my team and just I let my emotion get out.”

In baseball, everyone is pro-showing-emotion when it’s himself and his teammates, and against when it’s players on the other team. Muncy got into a back-and-forth with Giants starter Madison Bumgarner after flipping his bat and watching his long home run at Oracle Park last month. Bumgarner jawed at him and Muncy said, “I just told him if he doesn’t want me to watch the ball, go get it out of the ocean.”

Neris, however, is the last guy on the Phillies who should be antagonizing the Dodgers after his terrible decision to throw at Freese, not to mention his overall poor performance against them. The Phillies were pigs in mud who wanted to wrestle and the Dodgers jumped in with them for some reason. Thankfully, the two teams are done playing each other for the rest of the regular season.