Houston Astros relief pitcher Bryan Abreu has decided to appeal a two-game suspension from Major League Baseball, making him eligible to continue to pitch in the American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers.
Abreu was suspended for two games after umpires ruled that he purposely threw a pitch at Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia, who had hit a go-ahead home run in his previous at-bat, with a pitch in the eighth inning on Game 5 on Friday. The incident caused both benches and bullpens to charge the field in a frenzy, and Abreu, Garcia, and Astros manager Dusty Baker were all ejected from the game.
“It didn’t make sense to me. I mean, we’ve got a two-run game,” Baker said as he met with the media after Friday’s game. “They explained to me that he had just hit a three-run homer, but that was a mistake that he hit a three-run homer. …We pitch him up and in, and any time you’re throwing a projectile 97 miles per hour, some of them are going to get away…”
After the altercation, Baker was reluctant to leave the field, causing an even longer delay.
The delay seemingly helped the Astros as it forced closer Jose LeClerc out of his rhythm. Houston second baseman Jose Altuve came up in the top of the ninth and hit a game-winning three-run home run to give the Astros the series lead.
“I was concerned about that delay,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy told the media after Friday’s game. “It was a long one. It was taking too long, to be honest. The whole thing is a bunch of crap, to be honest. …We just couldn’t get the game going again, and I’m sure that affected him…”
Abreu officially appealed his suspension shortly before Game 6 on Sunday, delaying the suspension until the MLB hears the appeal.
“It hasn’t happened yet,” Baker replied when asked about the suspension. “[With] The powers that be, it’s out of my control. Whatever happens, I have to adjust and find a way to win the game.”
Houston fans showed up to Game 6 with signs that read, “Free Abreu” to show support for the reliever. He pitched the eighth inning in Sunday’s Game 6 and allowed one run. Garcia was the second batter he faced, and the outfielder struck out swinging in a four-pitch at-bat.
Abreu’s appeal is being heard on Monday morning ahead of Game 7, but a decision may not necessarily be reached before the game.
“You wish you had a decision,” Baker told the media after Sunday’s Game 6 loss. “You wish you had some final decision about his status. We took a shot there, and hopefully some of this will be postponed and we’ll have him [in Game 7], as well.”
Rangers pitcher Matt Bush and Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr were both fined and are not allowed to sit on their team’s bench for the rest of the series because of their roles in the incident.
The Rangers and Astros face off in Game 7 of the ALCS at 7:05 p.m. CT on Monday.