Now that all of Braves country has had time to calm down, meditate, shadow box in their living room, burn a Marlins jersey, etc., hopefully we can have a reasonable discussion about how pathetic and classless the antics displayed by Jose Ureña were on Wednesday night. For the lowly, incompetent Marlins to go after a key member of the first-place Braves is deplorable, and is further evidence that their organization is poisoned from top-to-bottom. Ronald Acuña had, through the first three games of the series, absolutely torched the Marlins in almost every way, and so Jose Ureña took it upon himself to drill the 20-year-old with a 97 mph fastball on the very first pitch. That decision was met with plenty of disgust from the Braves, their fans, and seemingly all of baseball, with the exception of noted jackass Keith Hernandez.
The game did go on however, and the Braves won 5-2 despite all the emotions that must have been at the forefront for much of this contest. Dansby Swanson homered to give Atlanta the lead in the fourth, and Kevin Gausman did the rest as he held Miami to two runs over six innings of work. As the Braves await word on Ronald Acuña and his left arm, we can all hope that this incident will not cause him to miss any stretch of time due to the importance of each game during this portion of the schedule. Acuña has established himself as the leadoff hitter and catalyst, and would certainly be missed should he be forced to sit out due to injury. Brian Snitker was among the most animated members of the Braves as the two teams met on the field following the hit by pitch. His antics were severe enough to warrant an ejection, but he made it very clear that he will fight anyone in support of his players with both his actions and his post-game comments.
Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com believes that plunking Ronald Acuña is the opposite of what baseball needs, especially for its brightest young stars.
Baseball is absolutely teeming with young talent right now, and yet we keep running into this same, unnecessary obstruction. Show just a little swagger, and somebody will try to shut down your show. Generations of baseball players have been raised under the assumption that the only hot dogs should be at the concession stands.
So maybe that’s the message that was being conveyed to Acuna. If so, it’s a terrible message in a game that needs as much Acuna-like energy as it can find. Some people complain about baseball’s stars not being more marketable. But if the sheer grind and the fear of failure in a 162-game schedule steeped with it don’t compel you to keep quiet, 97 mph to the wrist, elbow or ribs very well might.
On a lighter note, the Braves could soon resort to a six-man rotation that would include rookies Max Fried and Touki Toussaint, according to beat writer Mark Bowman.
If all goes well for Fried, there is a chance he could make his next start for Atlanta as early as next Wednesday in Pittsburgh. His return would allow the Braves to once again creatively construct the six-man rotation that was put in place earlier this month to allow each starter to pitch with an extra day of rest.
But the Braves might delay returning to a six-man rotation until Toussaint can return to the Majors.
After Toussaint limited the Marlins to one run over six innings in his Major League debut on Monday, he was sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett with the understanding that if he was not part of a disabled-list transaction, he would not be eligible to return to Atlanta’s roster before Aug. 23.