Braves Beat Marlins 1-0 After Early Fireworks

Winning is nice, a shutout is cool and extending a winning streak is encouraging, but I know what you’re here for. 

The Braves beat the Marlins 1-0 at Truist Park on Friday night, but there was really only one moment in that game worth spending a lot of time on. Positives and negatives from the game go by the wayside; this entire game started and ended on one pitch in the bottom of the first. Pablo Lopez hit Ronald Acuña Jr. on the first pitch a Braves hitter saw in the game, the sixth time in less than three calendar years a Miami pitcher has hit Acuña.

Lopez became the fifth different Miami pitcher to do it,, joining Jose Ureña (twice), Javy Guerra, Elieser Hernández and Sandy Alcantara. This has happened during games in Atlanta, Miami and on a neutral site in Houston. This has happened both in regular and postseason games, in the first inning (three times), third inning, fourth inning and seventh inning. The scores at the time have ranged everywhere from a 5-0 Atlanta lead in 2018 to a 4-1 Miami lead last October to 0-0 tonight. Braves up, Marlins up, tied, doesn’t matter. 

It’s a slot machine where the score, venue, and pitcher are different each time this happens. The only constant is the man pulling the lever, and that’s Don Mattingly. 

Once is an accident, twice is a fluke, six times is a deliberate attempt to injure an opposing player. And at this point, that’s what this is.Mattingly can say it’s just a part of baseball, or that he doesn’t have a deliberate attempt to cause harm or that the ball slipped. 

The reality is, every single time this happens there is a chance for it to go horribly wrong. You only have to look at what happened to Kevin Pillar earlier this season at Truist Park to see how dangerous this sport is, and that was an incident that didn’t have any intent attached to it. Every time Mattingly makes this decision,, there is a chance his pitcher could miss his spot and lead to something severe. 

Whatever point he thinks he’s making about respecting the game or not celebrating home runs or whatever else he brought with him from the 1980s is a safety risk at this point. And it’s not fair to his pitchers, especially an established, credible starting pitcher like Pablo Lopez tonight who was only in the game to carry out his manager’s agenda against Acuña. 

Ultimately, the only thing that matters is Acuña’s safety. Every other piece of this conversation is trivial if the player in question feels like he is in danger of getting hit every single time he steps to the plate against Miami. It’s incumbent on both the league and the umpires handling these games to do everything in their power to make sure Ronald—and every other player on the field—is safe. 

And in fairness to the umpires, they did what had to be done by ejecting both Mattingly and Lopez. Hopefully that is enough to make the sixth time the final time, but I’m not confident in that. Something tells me we’re going to right back here having this same conversation at some point down the road. 

As for those trivial factors below player safety, it was nice to know Don Mattingly’s antics cost his team the game tonight. Acuña came around to score in the first inning on an Ozzie Albies sacrifice fly, and that was the only run of the ballgame. 

Drew Smyly was good enough to navigate the lineup twice, Luke Jackson and Will Smith escaped respective jams and the Braves just about held on to take the first game of the series. 

Hopefully game two is much more straightforward. 

42 thoughts on “Braves Beat Marlins 1-0 After Early Fireworks”

  1. Bravo, Alan. Well stated. Kudos to the blue crew. Hopefully they established the precedent for such malfeasance.

    Go Braves.

  2. Thanks, Alan. I would like to point out that the pitching coach, Stottlemyre, also got tossed. Big tip of the cap to Acuña for keeping his cool, turning his back to the mound, and then taking his base. Very professional.

  3. That’s great, Braves14. Thanks.

    PS: for those interested, the last post in the previous thread is my attempt to confirm that this is the only time a losing starting pitcher threw one pitch. There are three other candidate games, but Retrosheet doesn’t have pitch counts for at-bats until fairly recently.

  4. Mattingly showed his true colors. Scum bag.
    Acuna was professional.
    Braves won.
    Win a couple more and and a holiday I dislike will be much improved.
    See in the third world country of Florida fireworks are orgasmic to many residents.
    They would set them of 24 hours of every day with no regard for animals or humans. Florida is considered the best third world country in the USA.
    Have a safe fourth.
    Let’s see a win from the Braves and Hawks.

  5. DOB is making a fool of himself on Twitter arguing that it wasn’t intentional, as well, so Braves-based media are not doing especially well with this situation.

    Look, I understand Glavine’s perspective. It’s old and outdated, but I do. Back when he pitched, Acuna would’ve charged the mound like four instances ago and there would’ve been a huge brawl and that would’ve probably been that for the most part. Also, somebody on our team would’ve outright drilled somebody on their team somewhere along the way. Warnings would not have been issued until our guy drilled their guy in retaliation. In short, the players would’ve handled it and the umpires would’ve sat around with their thumbs up their asses. It doesn’t work like that anymore…the umpires are gonna be more assertive with ejections and the like to keep things from escalating, and rightfully so. Acuna (and I think most of today’s players) are completely uninterested in charging the mound…and who can blame them, really? Doing so was always patently absurd.

    DOB has less of an excuse, citing the number of times Acuna’s been hit versus other players without any context for the situation whatsoever. Were those other players hit half the time on the very first pitch of the game, every time on a heat-seeking two-seam fastball? I would bet not.

    Just generally speaking, writer and announcer types always immediately fall back on the assumption that there was no intent to an HBP without any real reason for that thought other than cultural inertia.

  6. Another clue is that Ronald said that he and Lopez are friendly (both Venezuelan) and I’m sure there was nothing personal. But the location of where a guy is hit (and the fact of the first pitch) also says that Lopez was likely directed to pitch as far inside as it takes. The blame has to fall on Mattingly. There’s a difference between being hit mid-back level and being hit on the back foot by a back-foot slider.

    The Braves handled the situation so very well. Ronald just turned around and Snitker came right out to be the face of the defense. I hope the Braves go back and internalize that for the next time and respond the same way.

  7. The thing is, this isn’t even the first time that we’ve gotten mad about the Marlins hitting Acuña all the time.

    That wasn’t a curveball that slipped. It was a fastball aimed at his upper shoulder. The Marlins don’t HBP other Braves. They only hit the guy who happens to be the best player on our team. And they do it because, as EdK says, that is exactly who they are: a bunch of dirtbags.

    Matthew 7:16, right, Coop?

  8. Funny story. When I first started pitching I throw side arm. Also I get great joy out of breaking bats (all wood back than), so I pitched inside a lot. Plus a sidearm curve ball was more effective if throw at the batter. Especially at a young age. Bottom line I had great control. My Freshman year I pitched 36 innings and hit 12 batters, walked four and struck out 28.
    Most just nipped their uniforms. Than a scout advised me to adjust to a more overhand delivery, because breaking balls would not work as I saw more left handed batters. That stopped the hit batters.
    I wish there was an over sixty hardball league. I guess we never want to give up what we love, especially if we were damn good at it. Well live concerts are back.
    Joe Bonamassa and Van Morrison plus Red Rock, Austin and many more.
    Peace.

  9. Funny story. When I first started pitching I throw side arm. Also I get great joy out of breaking bats (all wood back than), so I pitched inside a lot. Plus a sidearm curve ball was more effective if throw at the batter. Especially at a young age. Bottom line I had great control. My Freshman year I pitched 36 innings and hit 12 batters, walked four and struck out 28.
    Most just nipped their uniforms. Than a scout advised me to adjust to a more overhand delivery, because breaking balls would not work as I saw more left handed batters. That stopped the hit batters.
    I wish there was an over sixty hardball league. I guess we never want to give up what we love, especially if we were damn good at it. Well live concerts are back.
    Joe Bonamassa and Van Morrison plus Red Rock, Austin and many more.
    Peace.
    I never seen no whiskey honey, but the blues got me sloppy drunk.

  10. @4, in case you didn’t see it, DOB retweeted someone’s tweet that Art Shallock of the Orioles in 1955 was the only other starter to throw on pitch and get the L.

    Since Lopez only threw one pitch and the Marlins bullpen threw 8 innings, if I’m Mattingly I’ve got to consider bringing Lopez back to start today or tomorrow, or maybe go several innings in relief of the starter. That could get interesting.

  11. I think the Marlins are on the league’s radar now and I hope this is the end of it. However, intentional or unintentional, if they continue I don’t have any problem taking measures to motivate Marlin batters to have a word with their mound brethren about pitching “better.”

    But it’s a lot better if the umpires have handled it. I don’t relish getting into an asshole contest with Don Mattingly.

  12. I don’t hold it against anyone if they think it was intentional or if they think it wasn’t intentional. I can see good points on either side. The location and pitch would suggest intentional. Otoh, putting Acuna on to start the game without any obvious retaliation from this current year seems a little odd. Ironically I think the Marlins did much better by using their bullpen. I doubt it would have been a 1 to 0 game if Lopez pitched 5 or 6 innings but we’ll never know.

  13. I don’t think it was intentional. There, I said it. But with that said, I don’t have sympathy for them with how it played out because when you have a rap sheet, the authorities are not going to give you the benefit of the doubt.

  14. Sorry, Nick, I edited.

    But as to why, I just don’t think a pitcher would knowingly do something in this day and age to get themselves thrown out on the first batter of the game. I think pitchers will only plunk if they don’t think they’ll get thrown out. Anyone with a half of a brain knows he would have gotten ran.

    Plus, as others have said, there’s no bad blood between Acuna and Miami right now.

  15. To that, I would say one offseason does not erase bad blood, and he threw at him at Mattingly’s direction and likely wouldn’t have done it himself. Mattingly thought nothing would happen in terms of ejections because nothing has happened since the first one from Urena.

  16. Too many assume “dumb jocks” are imbeciles. I know many highly intelligent dumb jocks, and I know total klutzes — me! me! — who are dumb as stumps.

  17. Why would he pick the first game of the series in Atlanta? The first game in Miami would make more sense.

  18. @21

    It’s not a deliberately-planned plunking for a specific incident. The first one was, but not since then. It’s a periodic action because Mattingly doesn’t like Acuna, because Acuna reacts every time they throw a pitch inside of the strike zone, and because Mattingly thinks the whole thing is funny (as evidenced by the barely-contained smirk he gets on his face every time they do it). That would be my guess, anyway.

  19. @5: The Shallock start was one of my three proposed games. As far as I’m concerned, the other two are still possibilities until somebody tells me they looked at contemporary writeups of the game and we know it was more than one pitch.

    Maybe Jerry Royster remembers on his game….

  20. @4, well, the tweet said the author wrote this after “a quick perusal of the newspaper archives.” I don’t know who Jeff J. Snider is, though, or whether that means he found the same three games you did and checked all of them.

  21. This is angling in a bad direction, especially since we have 2 hits in 11 innings

  22. The decision to send Acuna has cost us one run. Keep track. That’s 6 caught stealings on the year.

  23. Our starters don’t seem to trust their “stuff”. They nibble and nibble and walk a ton of hitters after getting them to 2 strikes.

  24. That’s two games of the last three that Snit lets the pitcher hit and he gives up a HR the next inning.

  25. Be glad when we get Daunaud back at C .. we have no production there or LF .. we have to have a bat at LF or 3B .. Riley play the other .. with our bullpen we have to have more offense ..

  26. Looking forward to the Kevan Smith at bat in the 8th. Maybe we get a walk or another error so we get the top three in the 9th.

  27. How bad must Lucroy be if Kevan Smith continues to get any at bats, particularly important ones? Dude is terrible. The fact that our bench is what it is by carrying like 15 pitchers continues to hurt the team

  28. I’ve got to say that Heredia is growing on me. He is so much better than Inciarte it’s not funny. With the walks I can appreciate Almonte as a backup for a little while, but he is not a starter for 90% of the mlb teams. I have no appreciation at all for Kevan Smith.

  29. Inquiring minds want to know, how long will it take until Acuna has the.fourth highest batting average? Yes on the Braves. Oh, and might that be a good happening?

  30. I would be ok with it if a Marlins pitcher beaned Chip in the booth. I don’t think an ejection would be necessary and it should be intentional

  31. Acuna is gonna half to get off plate a bit .. teams have found his weak spot …

  32. I miss offense. AA needs a miracle trade.

    As DOB tweets below, our shortstop needs an offense infusion.

  33. I’m optimistic that we are on an upward trend, but tomorrow is a big game. If we lose, my optimism will go up in smoke. We could win games like this if we didn’t have total zeroes in Almonte and Inciarte and a total -10 in Kevan Smith. Why hasn’t Arcia at least been called up? As Putter noted, Lucroy must be completely washed up.

  34. 2 of 3, than 2 of 3, and finish with 2 of 3.
    6 and 3. Isn’t that what we wanted.
    Oh you thought since the Braves won the first game, 7 and 2 or now let’s be real silly 8 and 1 was possible. Please consider this is a 500 team until proven differently.
    But winning tomorrow is pretty important.

  35. SOS SOS SOS SOS SOS SOS. SOS SOS
    Duvall has 19 homers. The Braves certainly would not want someone like that.
    Plenty of innings and time left in the season. So hopefully though accurate I am responding prematurely.

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