Framber Valdez restrained after starting benches-clearing drama vs. Mariners

Framber Valdez, Houston Astros (Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports)
Framber Valdez, Houston Astros (Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports) /

Houston Astros ace Framber Valdez had to be restrained after hitting Seattle Mariners shortstop Jose Caballero with a pitch. 

In the fifth inning of Saturday’s game between the Seattle Mariners and the Houston Astros, Dylan Moore smashed a home run off of Framber Valdez to stretch the Mariners’ lead to 6-2. Okay, it happens. Even the best pitchers have bad days.

What happened next, however, quickly escalated the drama to soap opera quality. Valdez let off steam with an errant pitch that drilled Mariners shortstop Jose Caballero in the shin. Caballero unsurprisingly took issue, which led Valdez to remove his glove and prepare for a confrontation as the benches cleared.

Valdez was eventually removed from the incoming scuffle by Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez, a close friend. Rodriguez offered calming words, from the looks of it, and Valdez let the confrontation die away.

Framber Valdez hits Jose Caballero with pitch and clears benches in Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners game

Valdez would end the game with six earned runs, five strikeouts, and two walks in 5.0 innings. Baseball is a competitive sport, just like any other. When tensions boil up and players are weaponized with high-speed projectiles, this kind of thing is always a possibility.

It’s on Valdez, of course, to keep his cool when the game goes south. The Mariners are a talented group with plenty of offensive firepower. It happens.

Before the game, Valdez’s record sat at 9-8 on the season. His 3.31 ERA and 1.082 WHIP belie consistent dominance from the 29-year-old, who made his second consecutive All-Star appearance earlier in the campaign. Valdez has 148 strikeouts (to only 126 hits) in 149.2 innings pitched. This is a blip on the radar for one of baseball’s best.

This isn’t the first time Valdez has hit a batter under suspicious circumstances in 2023. You want a pitcher with a competitive edge and a real drive to succeed, but Valdez can’t let emotions get the most of him in these situations. He has some real zip on his pitches and baseball has evolved beyond the “unwritten rules” era of beaning batters for perceived slights.

In this case, there isn’t even a perceived slight. Caballero had the unfortunate luck of batting after Moore, who committed the crime of clobbering Valdez’s pitch over the fence. It’s far from a pressing issue, but Valdez needs to keep his pitches closer to the strike zone when he’s upset. Any anger is better channeled toward strikeouts, not HBP’s.

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