The Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers have not been fans of each other ever since outfielder Jose Bautista’s bat-flipping antics in Game 5 of the ALDS. The Rangers were long expected to plunk the Jays slugger this season as retaliation. That happened today and then some.
Rangers pitcher Matt Bush plunked Bautista to lead off the eighth inning of today’s matchup. Later in the inning with Bautista on first, Justin Smoak grounded out to short. What should have turned into a routine double play, evolved into a fist fight. Bautista slid hard on second baseman Rougned Odor, who threw the ball wide to first. Odor took exception to the slide and threw a couple punches at Bautista, connecting on one pretty hard.
Both teams bench cleared as they brawled near second base. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre held back Jose Bautista as the pile moved its way into the outfield. Many players got involved in the tussle, as Kevin Pillar and Josh Donaldson both were animated in defending Bautista.
Eventually, things calmed down, but Toronto reliever Jesse Chavez plunked Prince Fielder in the eighth as retaliation which caused the benches to clear yet again. Thankfully, no punches were thrown in the brawl. Chavez and bench coach DeMarlo Hale was quickly ejected following the play.
There were multiple ejections for the incident. Odor, Bautista, Donaldson, Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele were ejected following the play. John Gibbons and first base coach Tim Leiper were ejected earlier in the game for arguing strikes. Gibbons made his way back onto the field during the brawl and will almost definitely be suspended. Here’s how the box score looked following the incident.
The scene is the last thing you want to see in a baseball game. Bautista’s slide was ruled illegal under the new slide rule, but Odor can’t get that upset. He’s likely going to face a massive suspension for punching Bautista. Bautista isn’t innocent himself and will likely also be suspended for the incident. Heck, there will almost definitely be multiple suspensions.
The Rangers beat the Blue Jays 7-6, but this won’t be the last we’ll hear about the brawl, as it will definitely warrant attention from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.