Astros, A’s get in bench-clearing brawl

There’s been another dust up in Major League Baseball that involves the Houston Astros. This time around, in the midst of getting knocked around by the first-place Oakland Athletics again, a fight broke out when a player charged the Astros’ dugout on his own. 

A’s center fielder Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch two straight plate appearances on Sunday and was obviously not happy about it. The second one was a breaking ball and those are never purpose pitches, but no player accepts a second straight hit-by-pitch without showing outward disgust, save for maybe the plate-hogging Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo

Still, for whatever reason, members of the Astros dugout started yelling at Laureano and that spurred Laureano to charge at them with a full head of steam. 

That coach urging Laureano to bring it on was hitting coach Alex Cintron. 

This was some awful decision-making. The coaches are supposed to be the “adults” in the room and you’ve got a coach goading an opposing player into charging in for a fight with the league desperately trying to stay on the field amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Cintron wasn’t the only one yelling, either. They need to be better than that. Speaking of which, Laureano has to better keep himself under control. We saw Joe Kelly get an eight-game suspension for missing Alex Bregman’s head and making some childish faces last month. Laureano and (likely) Cintron are surely staring down a 10-game suspension or more (15?). The league is using excessive-looking suspensions as a deterrent in this 60-game season, so they’ll get hit hard. 

Meanwhile, the A’s look like the best team in baseball and Laureano is hitting .278/.406/.519. He’s an excellent defender and good enough baserunner that with the above offensive numbers, he’s leading the A’s in WAR this season. To lose him for something like 20 percent of the season will really hurt, but something like that is now on the horizon. 

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