Fallout from Ronel Blanco's controversial ejection could be final straw for Astros

To call Ronel Blanco's ejection for having a foreign substance on his glove a disaster may be an understatement.
Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros
Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros / Logan Riely/GettyImages

Normally, when Ronel Blanco is starting for the Houston Astros this season, it is cause for celebration. Blanco has been the one guy that has been able to do his job — and do it well — on Houston's pitching staff this year and his breakout has been a welcome surprise in what has otherwise been a horrific start for the Astros.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse on Tuesday evening for Blanco and the Astros. Before the fourth inning against the A's, the first base umpire inspected Blanco's glove, noticed something sticky, and asked the rest of the umpiring crew to converge and investigate. After conferring in what a lively discussion involving the umpires as well as Blanco and Astros manager Joe Espada, the end result ultimately was that Blanco was ejected from the game.

Making matters worse, the fallout from that ejection could be the nail in the coffin for the Astros' season if what the umpires said after the game is true.

Ronel Blanco's potential suspension could derail Astros at a critical point in the season

The short-term fallout was bad enough. The Astros' bullpen had to stitch together the rest of the game using six relievers. While Houston did ultimately win the game against Oakland, having to use so many relievers meant multiple guys throwing on back-to-back days and Josh Hader appearing for two innings (which, with his history, might mean he won't want to throw until next week).

Given that the Astros are in the middle of a stretch of 16 games without an off day, depleting their bullpen may be one of several problems. If MLB finds that the umpires were right in identifying the substance they found as something other than rosin as they described it as "the stickiest stuff I’ve felt on a glove since we’ve been doing this for a few years now," Blanco could get hit with a 10-game suspension.

Houston was already planning on going with a six-man rotation as a solution to their pitching woes, which meant they were going to be down a bullpen arm. Now, their bullpen is burned for the next couple of days and they might not even be able to find enough starters to go with their six-man rotation plan.

While Blanco has already announced he is going to appeal any suspension — and there is definitely two very conflicting stories as to what happened with his ejection — this could be an absolute disaster for the Astros. Their most reliable starter this season may be forced to sit a couple of starts during a stretch where Houston must string together some wins. With the Astros hanging on by a thread, this could end up being the final straw that breaks their backs — if they weren't broken already.

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