Josh Jung injury stokes Rangers-Astros fighting on social media


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Three Rangers were hit by a former Astros reliever, a connection that was quickly made by Texas fans.

DALLAS — The Rangers-Astros rivalry is a tinderbox ready to ignite at the slightest sight of a spark.

Even from a Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher, whether he intended to or not.

Right-hander Phil Maton entered Monday night’s Rangers-Rays game in the ninth inning, as Texas held a comfortable 7-3 lead. Things got uncomfortable quickly.

With one out and runners on first and second, Maton hit Rangers batters Evan Carter and Adolis Garcia consecutively. Garcia didn’t like it and waved at Maton as he walked to first base. Then facing Josh Jung, Maton ran the count to 2-1 and threw one up and in. Jung began to swing, and then appeared to try to get out of the way. But Maton’s pitch hit him on the wrist. After the game, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy revealed that Jung’s wrist was broken.

What does any of this have to do with the Astros?

Well, Maton pitched for Houston last year, when the Rangers knocked out the Astros in a highly-contentious American League Championship Series.

So when Maton hit three Texas batters in a row Monday night, Rangers fans quickly made the connection. He wasn’t just a Tampa Bay Ray. He was a former Astro.

Rangers radio announcer Jared Sandler noted this on X, and his replies were quickly filled with Rangers fans ready for retaliation and Astros fans outraged their team was even mentioned.

But Houston fans also had no problem relishing in the situation.

“Phil Maton, Astros legend, never forgets,” posted one Astros fan, who notes in his bio that “you hate the Astros because they keep beating your favorite team.”

The post by Tuesday morning had 3,100 likes, and plenty of counter jabs from Rangers fans.

In any case, Bochy on Tuesday in an interview with “K&C Masterpiece” on 105.3 The Fan quelled any tensions. He noted that Carter was hit with a breaking ball in the foot, and Jung swung at the pitch that hit him. 

“I know everybody’s going to look at, ‘Well, is this done on purpose?'” Bochy said. “Do you like it? No, nobody likes it. Bases loaded, they’re still somewhat in the game when ‘Doli got hit. But hey … we’re going to hit guys, too. It’s not always on purpose. Do you like to see it? No … but you know, it’s a case where you try to read everything by what the situation is. I don’t think Josh thought he was throwing at him.”

Anyway, the social media fighting comes just in time. The Astros visit Globe Life Field for a four-game series starting Friday.

The Rangers, for their part, were more concerned with Jung after the game.

“I just feel horrible for him,” Bochy told Bally Sports Southwest. “He’s had such tough luck on this thing as far as the injuries and it puts a damper on this one. He’ll be back. I talked to him briefly, and this hurts. You know I feel for the kid because he’s had to deal with so much. … It’s going to be a little while but he’ll be back.”

The Rangers haven’t said if Jung will require surgery and no timetable on his return has been announced.

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Josh Jung injury stokes Rangers-Astros fighting on social media

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