Marlins’ Pablo Lopez ejected for hitting Ronald Acuna with first pitch of game
The Miami Marlins have a long history of hitting Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. with pitches, and it got them in some serious hot water on Friday night.
Marlins starter Pablo Lopez hit Acuna with his first pitch of Friday’s game, which led to Braves manager Brian Snitker angrily coming onto the field to protect his star. After the umpires consulted with each other, home plate umpire Andy Fletcher and crew chief Dan Iassogna ejected Lopez, deeming the pitch intentional. That prompted Marlins manager Don Mattingly to come out and argue, resulting in his ejection as well.
"What the umpires just did was say that for the next 15 years, Ronald Acuña Jr. owns the inside corner of the plate in every game these two teams play"
— Bally Sports Florida: Marlins (@BallyMarlins) July 2, 2021
The Marlins were furious, as no warnings had been issued and the ejection seemed abrupt to them. However, there is no ignoring the history between the two sides. Acuna had been hit four times in his career by the Marlins coming into Friday, including twice to lead off a ballgame. Not all of those resulted in ejections, much to Snitker’s fury. The Marlins hitting Acuna has become so common that Acuna himself has acknowledged it.
Lopez’s pitch may have been an attempt to control the inside of the plate. That said, he plays for a team that has obviously targeted Acuna before. Miami simply doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt anymore. Too much has gone down in the past for that, and a warning is hardly necessary for both teams to be aware of it.