There was a lot at stake in this series between the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. With the Blue Jays sliding ahead of both teams in the AL Wild Card standings, it is looking increasingly likely that only one AL West team is going to get a wild card slot which means one of Houston or Seattle could be watching the 2023 postseason from their couches.
As a result, it is hardly surprising that they could be a fair amount of...well, let's just called it aggressive competitiveness. In last night's 8-3 Astros win, Astros reliever Hector Neris had some choice words that he wanted to share after he struck out Julio Rodriguez and Rodriguez did not take kindly to them resulting in both benches clearing and Julio having to be restrained from going after Neris.
After the game, Neris tried to play the incident off as nothing personal, but the video does seem to show that he said some not nice words to Julio and based on the reaction, there is clearly no love between these two teams right now.
The bad blood between the Astros and Mariners doesn't end there
If this was a one off incident in the heat of the moment, that can be brushed off. However, Chas McCormick got the wrong end of the rivalry as well when he got drilled in the back by a high 90's fastball. In fairness to Seattle, Chas did very clearly try to knock a ball out of the first baseman's glove pretty blatantly on a play at first earlier in the game which is going to hurt some feelings.
All of this highlights the desperation and tension surrounding this series. Houston can't afford to take their foot off the gas despite being 1.5 games ahead of Seattle for the last wild card spot because the Mariners own the tiebreaker with them and Seattle is fighting for their playoff lives with just a few games left.
Thankfully, the Astros took two out of three from Seattle and have a day off today. The bad news, though, is that the Diamondbacks are up next and they, too, are trying to cling to a wild card spot. Hopefully that series has a bit less drama, although that may not be something you want to bet on.