Houston's Brett Oberholtzer ejected after throwing at Alex Rodriguez

Who knew the drama this weekend wouldn't come from the Royals-A's series in Oakland?

Instead, tensions were high at Minute Maid Park in Houston, where Astros starter Brett Oberholtzer was ejected in the second inning for throwing a pitch at Alex Rodriguez.

Apparently, Oberholtzer got up on the wrong side of bed Saturday morning. He wasn't effective at all during his abbreviated stint on the mound, and he didn't have much patience to deal with his struggles.

In the first inning, he served up a grand slam to Brian McCann after allowing a double and two walks. Things didn't go much better in the second frame, After allowing a second double to Brett Gardner, hot-hitting Chris Young dialed up long distance for a two-run homer. That led up to the A-Rod incident, which saw home-plate umpire Rob Drake give Oberholtzer the immediate hook after his first pitch zeroed in on A-Rod's belt buckle.

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The pitch also got a quick reaction from the Yankees dugout, which was poised to defend A-Rod if things escalated on the field. In fact, CC Sabathia came charging out of the dugout, only to be held back by manager Joe Girardi.

If there were any remaining doubts about how A-Rod's teammates feel about him, this should squash them. He's simply one of the boys again. 

As for Oberholtzer, his frustrations were quite clear, but it's difficult to say with one-hundred percent certainty what his intentions were. Did the pitch simply get away? Did he overthrow out of frustration? Was he looking to send a message or back New York's hitters off the plate? Does he hate A-Rod? Or was he just ready to go home?

His body language seemed to suggest it was intentional but not personal. That he was simply determined to go home at anyone's expense, which doesn't speak well of his professionalism. He didn't even bother to plead his case. He simply turned and headed for the showers, although not before planting his glove in the dugout wall. 

(MLB.TV)
(MLB.TV)

With the ejection comes an automatic fine. Oberholtzer could also face a suspension if the league decides there was intent. Again, it's difficult to prove, but the timing of it all and Oberholtzer's reaction will do him no favors. 

After the game, we learned the Astros weren't willing to do Oberholtzer any favors either. He was immediately optioned back to Triple A. 

Here's his parting message from manager A.J. Hinch. 

If there's a sliver of a silver lining for Oberholtzer, it's that Houston's bullpen and offense got him off the hook. When he left, Houston was trailing by six runs and facing a major uphill battle against Masahiro Tanaka. By the fifth inning, the game was tied thanks to 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief from Roberto Hernandez and home runs from Chris Carter, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve. 

The Astros would ultimately go on to lose the game, 9-6. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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