Collin McHugh and Carlos Gomez wrote themselves into the storied rivalry between the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers with an unusual altercation on Monday night.
Although the Texas Rangers have been eliminated from postseason contention, their rivalry with the Houston Astros is far from over. The Astros didn’t make it much of a game, scoring eight runs in the fourth to eventually win 11-2, but a developing feud between Collin McHugh and Carlos Gomez made up for the lack of excitement.
On Monday night, McHugh took the mound for the Astros and eventually received the win for his strong five-inning effort, improving to 4-2 on the season. Gomez, formerly a teammate of McHugh’s for parts of 2015 and 2016, led off the second inning where the fireworks began.
McHugh started Gomez off with a 90-mph pitch to the inside of the plate. Apparently, Gomez took offense because after fouling off the next pitch he stormed towards the mound yelling at McHugh.
"“I just react and told him, ‘What do you want? You want to do this or do you want to play baseball?’ … I waited for him last time and he run like a little cat,” Gomez said (per Mike Oz). “You want to be tough when there are 50 men outside or do you want to be tough when you have me face-to-face and no one around?”"
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What followed was a benches-clearing gathering on the field, without any punches thrown and plenty of confusion from McHugh. After the first pitch, McHugh continued on as if it was nothing and he responded to Gomez’s reaction with what appeared to be genuine confusion.
"“The second pitch, he took a big swing and fouled it off and took about five steps out toward the mound, looking me straight in the eye,” McHugh said (per Mike Oz). “I just asked him if we had a problem. It was a rhetorical question because, clearly, he’s got a problem with me."
Following the game, it became clear that these two players have an issue with each other, but neither seem to know what. On one hand, Gomez believed McHugh intentionally threw inside on him, pointing out when he was hit by McHugh in August. He also claimed McHugh yelled at him during an altercation involving Lance McCullers in May.
Yet, putting the past aside, McHugh told the media after the game he does not understand why Gomez took offense by that pitch.
"“I don’t exactly know what it is, but whatever the case, he came out and I asked him what the issue was and he said, ‘Yeah, I got a problem with you.’ That was it. Everybody else was out there by that point in time. The game goes on. I don’t want to spend any more mental effort thinking about Carlos Gomez.”"
On Tuesday night the Astros broke out the bats yet again, winning 14-3.