Tensions ran high in Game 5 of the ALCS. Before Jose Altuve went deep to give the Astros a 3-2 series lead, the Astros best reliever, Bryan Abreu, entered with the Astros trailing 4-2 and was tasked with keeping Houston’s deficit to two runs.
With a runner already on first, Abreu faced Adolis Garcia, and lost a fastball inside, plunking Garcia.
Yes, Garcia pimped a home run off of Justin Verlander to put the Rangers ahead, but Verlander conceded he had no issues with Garcia’s reaction to the home run, but like most Astros, was adamant the HBP was unintentional.
Garcia and the Rangers vehemently disagreed. They paid no attention to the lack of logic in such a move. Why would the Astros hit Garcia and move another runner into scoring position with nobody out? Why would they do it with their best reliever and jeopardize his future for the playoffs?
It was obviously incidental.
The umpires disagreed. Abreu, Garcia, and Dusty Baker were all ejected. After the dust settled and the Astros emerged victorious, Abreu was also given a two-game suspension, which he appealed before Game 6.
Abreu appeared in Game 6, but his fate for a win or go home Game 7 was in question.
Bryan Abreu's suspension stays at two games, but won't be served until 2024
The hearing for Abreu’s appeal was held today. The MLB inexplicably decided to uphold the decision to suspend Abreu for two games. How intent was proven is beyond reason.
That said, the verdict did come with good news. Abreu won’t have to serve his suspension until the first two games of the 2024 regular season.
This is in line with Yuli Gurriel’s suspension to begin 2018. Bryce Harper also will serve a suspension to begin 2024 as a result of his ejection earlier this month.
While it should have been obvious Abreu wouldn’t jeopardize the Astros with their season on the line, at least the MLB is letting the teams decide who wins tonight.
The Astros will be a tough out with their bullpen fully intact.