The hottest player in baseball, Ronald Acuña Jr., was hit on the very first pitch of the Braves’ final game of their series against the Marlins by José Ureña Wednesday night. The pitch struck Acuña’s elbow, and he was forced to leave the game in the second inning as a result.
Players getting hit by pitches isn’t uncommon in baseball. Beaning batters can be accidental, or often times in retaliation over myriad things that get baseball players in a tizzy. Wednesday night’s game between the Braves and Marlins showed how the petty still lives on in baseball, despite being silly and unhealthy for the game.
With that said, here are the four reasons Ureña hit Acuña with a pitch.
This leadoff dinger in the first game of a doubleheader on Monday
What’s hotter right now: Ronald Acuña Jr.’s bat or the sun?— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) August 13, 2018
RT FOR ACUÑA JR.
FAV FOR ACUÑA JR. pic.twitter.com/HbIeLnXWvc
This leadoff dinger in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader
This leadoff dinger on Tuesday
RONALD ACUÑA JR. IS STRAIGHT pic.twitter.com/ZAWkKJRkmr— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) August 14, 2018
This dinger later in that same game on Tuesday
If you are straining over the math, that’s four home runs in two days. Those four home runs are the No Good Reasons that Ureña plunked Acuña over.
Acuña has been lighting up the majors with eight home runs in eight games, and the Marlins are responsible for half of them. He went into Wednesday’s game with five straight games with a home run, and three straight games with a leadoff home run. He’s the youngest player to hit three straight leadoff home runs since Brady Anderson in 1999. He’s also only the fourth leadoff hitter to hit a home run in five straight games in the Live Ball Era. Ronald José Acuña Blanco Jr. is out here, y’all.
After the game, Ureña claimed he didn’t do it on purpose, and some people will certainly come to his defense. Ureña has had control problems this season, and went into Wednesday night’s game tied for second in the National League with 10 hit batters. However, according to ESPN Stats and Info, the 97.5 MPH pitch Ureña sent into Acuña’s elbow was in the 99th percentile of the 2,125 pitches he’s thrown this year, and his fastest to open a game in his career.
That doesn’t seem like a huge coincidence. Not on the first pitch. Not when Acuña has saved the Marlins’ franchise and taken ownership from Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter.
Intentionally hitting a batter is dumb, and the argument of “well, that’s baseball!” is even dumber. Believing that Ureña should hit Acuña because he was playing home run derby with the Marlins is laughable.
When pitchers go for the bean, they even usually wait until a second or third at bat, but the Marlins were Big Mad and it just had to be on the very first pitch. The promptness speaks to just how badly Acuña was waxing them during the early part of the week.
Luckily, Acuña’s home run streak doesn’t end because he left Wednesday night’s game with his only plate appearance being a hit by pitch. So for all we know, Wednesday’s incident could perhaps only add to Acuña’s legend, depending on what he does in his next game — whenever that may be.