It’s not the Astros that Carlos Gomez has a problem with.
He’s fine with the team that unceremoniously dumped him in 2016 after a tenure of parts of two seasons.
Now, Collin McHugh? He’s got a problem with him. And the relationship didn’t get any better on Monday.
Gomez said that during the series earlier this month, he waited to confront McHugh after a game during the series in Tampa, Fla., after what he believed was an intentional hit-by-pitch.
However, Gomez said, McHugh ran “like a little cat.”
So what would you expect to happen when McHugh threw inside on Gomez in the Rangers’ half of the second inning in Texas’ 11-2 loss on Monday?
An assembly of baseball benches on the infield, that’s what.
The quasi-volcanic eruption evolved in phases.
McHugh threw inside on the Rangers’ center fielder. Then McHugh quick-pitched him, a ball Gomez fouled off.
After going to get another bat, Gomez began to glare at the Astros pitcher, who returned the scowl. Gomez took a few steps to the mound and in baseball tradition, the benches, and a minute or so later, the bullpen charged to the scene.
Order was restored without hostilities escalating to Rougned Odor Level 5. Bench coach Steve Buechele walked Gomez back to the plate as the teams separated. Home plate umpire Paul Nauert warned both dugouts.
Gomez, who has been hit 19 times this season, said he was told by someone with the Astros — he didn’t say who — that McHugh planned to hit him in Tampa.
“I’m always going to get blamed,” Gomez said. “So, last time I faced him he hit me right away. No one said anything about that, but I react to something, I’m the troublemaker. How am I supposed to react?
“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. 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?”
No doubt much to his annoyance, Gomez struck out for the first out in the inning when the at-bat continued.
The history between the two actually seems to have begun in May during an incident in which Lance McCullers threw behind Mike Napoli.
Gomez had to be restrained from McCullers, but it was McHugh who rubbed him the wrong way.
“He is standing up in the dugout when he is on the DL and yelling,” Gomez said at the time. “If he has something to say, say it to me. He’s not man enough to stand in front of me and say it. It’s nothing personal, I’m doing my job. We can go out there and play baseball. They don’t mess with us, we won’t mess with them.”
Gomez had a double off McHugh in an at-bat without incident in the fifth.
“I’m a man and am responsible to my stuff,” Gomez said. “I don’t think I did something wrong. When I’m wrong, I apologize. He tell one of his people that he was going to hit me. You tell me to my face. I go after you personally, you run away.
“What kind of man are you? I have nothing against this team, I have something against him.”
Someone get Dr. Phil on the line.