Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t initially sure Hernandez’s intentionally hit Acuna in the first inning of Tuesday’s 5-1 win over the Marlins at SunTrust Park. But after getting ejected for reacting to the warnings that were subsequently issued, he viewed replays and slightly altered his opinion.
“I don’t know why that kid would want to hit him, honestly,” Snitker said. “But in light of what’s happened, you better keep the ball away from that guy. If you’re going to miss, miss the other way. When I watched it, I wasn’t so sure.”
Given what happened with Urena last year, Acuna understandably wasn’t happy when Hernandez’s 87.2 mph fastball drilled his left side.
At the same time, given that Acuna entered this game having hit .336 with 15 homers and a 1.125 OPS in 34 career games against the Marlins, it would be understandable that Miami’s pitchers might at least try to pitch the young phenom inside or attempt to make him uncomfortable.
“I don't have anything against him,” Hernandez said. “The pitch got away. I was throwing inside, and it just got away.”
Regardless, it was a bad look. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and the benches did not empty as Acuna jawed with Hernandez and Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro as he slowly made his way toward first base. But the commotion, combined with the past history, led home-plate umpire Alan Porter to issue warnings to both teams.
Snitker was calm as he checked on Acuna at first base. But once he realized warnings had been issued, he began barking at Porter and pointing toward Hernandez, signaling he felt the Marlins' right-hander should be ejected.
Snitker’s actions were much more subdued than they were on Aug. 15, 2018, when he had to held back as he attempted to get to Urena on the mound. But the Braves' manager barked loud and long enough to be ejected by crew chief Mark Wegner.
“I kind of felt like if you needed to have a warning, then you should have thrown him out of the game,” Snitker said. “That was kind of a hard one for me to understand, especially in light of past things.”
There definitely wasn’t reason for Hernandez to intentionally throw at light-hitting Adeiny Hechavarria with a runner at second base and two outs in the fourth inning.
But because of what had already occurred, when Hernandez was not ejected after Hechavarria was hit with a 2-1 fastball, Braves bench coach Walt Weiss calmly approached Porter and seemed to say, “What did you issue warnings for?”
“They kind of forced those [warnings],” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “If [Acuna] goes to first, they can do whatever they want back, and then the warnings come.”