Last year, during the ALDS, benches cleared twice in the seventh inning of Game 5 as the Blue Jays rallied from behind to take the lead. That inning was highlighted by Jose Bautista's three-run home run and monster bat flip.
Sunday in Texas, the recently called up Matt Bush hit Bautista with a pitch in the eighth inning, two innings after Bautista cleared the bases with a double. Soon after the plunking, Bautista went into second base hard with a take-out slide on Justin Smoak's would-be double play ball.
Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor did not appreciate the hard slide. He got in Bautista's face, shoved him, then straight up punched him in the jaw. The punch was so hard that it sent Bautista's sunglasses flying off his face. Here's some video of the slide and the punch:
Both Odor and Bautista were ejected from the game. And it didn't stop there either. Jesse Chavez came out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays in the next half-inning, and he immediately hit Prince Fielder with a pitch. Benches cleared again, though no punches were thrown this time.
Chavez was ejected after hitting Fielder, as were Josh Donaldson and Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale for their roles in the second benches clearing incident. Manager John Gibbons was ejected earlier in the game for arguing balls and strikes.
It's natural to want to choose a side here, but both Bautista and Odor are in the wrong. Bautista's slide was late and dangerous -- MLB changed the rules this offseason to outlaw slides exactly like that -- and Odor can't shove and punch another player.
Bautista has every right to be upset about the hit-by-pitch and Odor has every right to be upset about the slide. They can't start attempting to injury each other. Expect both to be suspended following this dust up. Chavez, Donaldson, Gibbons, and Hale too.