5:31pm: As noted by Alden Gonzalez of ESPN, the current CBA stipulates that all appeals of postseason suspensions must be settled within 48 hours. That clause would appear to indicate that Abreu will be forced to serve the suspension during the postseason unless the suspension is overturned on appeal.
5:00pm: Major League Baseball announced this evening that Astros right-hander Bryan Abreu has been suspended for two games and fined an undisclosed amount for his role in last night’s benches-clearing skirmish between the Astros and the Rangers last night. Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. and manager Dusty Baker were both fined for their roles in the incident, as was Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia and right-hander Matt Bush. Both McCullers and Bush will be prohibited from sitting on their club’s bench for the remainder of the ALCS.
Garcia, 30, walked out of the batter’s box slowly after hitting a go-ahead, three-run homer off of Houston ace Justin Verlander. When Garcia returned to the plate during the eighth inning, he was struck on the shoulder by a fastball from Abreu. Garcia dropped his bat and confronted Astros catcher Martin Maldonado about the hit-by-pitch, leading the benches to clear. Abreu, Garcia, and Baker were all ejected during the incident, and the Astros went on to the the game 5-4 after second baseman Jose Altuve hit a go-ahead, three-run homer of his own in the ninth inning.
As discussed by MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, neither side was pleased with the handling of the situation following the game. Abreu and other Astros players believing a warning should have been issued rather than an ejection, while Rangers manager Bruce Bochy was displeased with the twelve-minute delay following the incident. Bochy believes the delay could have impacted Texas righty Jose Leclerc, who surrendered the aforementioned game-winning homer to Altuve following the incident.
If Abreu elects not to appeal, he would miss the remainder of the ALCS, and potentially the first game of the World Series if the Astros win Game 6 tomorrow night. Should Abreu appeal, the suspension would be put on hold until the appeal is resolved. It’s not yet clear if Abreu intends to appeal the commissioner’s office’s decision, though ESPN’s Jeff Passan indicates that Abreu is “expected” to appeal and that if he does so, any suspension would likely be postponed until the 2024 campaign.
Abreu has been a key reliever for the Astros all season, with a 1.75 ERA and a 34.8% strikeout rate in 72 innings of work this year. That dominance has carried over to the postseason, where Abreu has 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball across seven appearances, striking out eleven while walking just two.