The first half of the Braves-Marlins day-night doubleheader was headlined by the major league debut of right-hander Touki Toussaint, who has rocketed through the system in 2018 to reach the big club at just 22 years old. He was excellent in his first start, and after getting early run support from Ronald Acuña in the form of a leadoff home run, he settled in to give Atlanta six strong innings, allowing just one run on two hits en route to his first major league victory. Acuña began the game with a homer, and would later add a two-run double and a stolen base to further emphasize just how talented he is, but he was far from finished for the day.
Ronald Acuña continued his insane stretch in this one by once again leading off the game with a home run, staking Mike Fotlynewicz to a quick 1-0 lead. Acuña became just the fourth player to ever hit leadoff home runs in both games of a doubleheader, the youngest player to homer in four consecutive games, and is rapidly re-entering the National League Rookie of the Year discussion despite his delayed promotion and serious knee injury earlier in the season. Foltynewicz was brilliant for Atlanta, allowing just one run over eight innings with seven strikeouts.
Admittedly, I was completely unaware of the Taylor Hooton Foundation or their mission prior to this piece by Braves beat writer Mark Bowman, who writes that Nick Markakis is a strong advocate of keeping your body clean when playing sports rather than using performance enhancing drugs.
“I always tell them, ‘No,’” Markakis said. “A lot of people believe you and a lot of people don’t believe you. But I personally believe I don’t need it. Anything I’m putting in my body I’m going to learn about, and you learn about what some of those things bring later in life. It’s obviously not a smart and wise decision to put those chemicals in your body.”
Knowing how outspoken Markakis has been regarding the use of PEDs, the Taylor Hooton Foundation approached the Braves outfielder this year and asked him to serve as the team’s representative on the Foundation’s advisory board.
Taylor Hooton’s friends and family members created the foundation after he took his own life in 2003, when he was just 17. His death has been linked to the anabolic steroid usage he began while a high school athlete in Texas.