Hernandez exits with blister in tense loss

Warnings issued after righty plunks Acuna on his 1st pitch

August 21st, 2019

ATLANTA -- It took just one pitch for Marlins right-hander to create some waves on Tuesday night at SunTrust Park. The 23-year-old’s four-seam fastball plunked in the ribs, leading to Braves manager Brian Snitker being ejected and warnings issued to both benches.

Hernandez quickly recovered and, despite hitting with a pitch in the fourth inning, did a nice job navigating through a powerful Braves lineup. But his night came to a close after 68 pitches and four innings due to a blister on his right middle finger.

After Hernandez exited, the Braves broke through on ’s second home run on a four-RBI night, to beat the Marlins, 5-1.

“He's been managing it for probably three or four starts,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Hernandez’s blister. “It's something they've been keeping stuff on and draining it every now and then. It just got hot tonight.”

The Marlins have dropped all four on the road trip that started at the Rockies, and Miami fell to 4-13 in the season series to the Braves.

Hernandez, a native of Venezuela, noted postgame that he had no intention of hitting Acuna, who also is from Venezuela.

“I don't have anything against him,” Hernandez said through an interpreter. “The pitch got away. I was throwing inside, and it just got away.”

In terms of the rotation, the Marlins are listing Hernandez as day to day for now, and are hopeful Hernandez will be ready by Sunday at home against the Reds.

“I hope so,” Mattingly said. “Like every time, he seems to be able to deal with it. He skipped a bullpen [once] and was OK with it. We're hopeful right now. We'll see. If not, he will be close to it.”

Hernandez was replaced in a 1-1 game.

gave the Marlins a lead in the third inning with a home run off . But the Braves tied it in the fourth on Freeman’s leadoff homer.

Hernandez limited Atlanta to one run on three hits with two walks, two hit batters and five strikeouts.

Freeman’s second homer of the game, a two-out shot off , came in the fifth inning that put the Braves in front, 2-1. The All-Star first baseman’s two-run single off in the seventh inning made it a three-run game.

Of the 68 pitches Hernandez threw, 30 were four-seam fastballs, and 31 were sliders. The slider was his most effective pitch, as he induced six swinging strikes.

“We're in the same division,” Hernandez said. “We're trying to find ways to get outs.”

For Hernandez, it was his pitch that hit Acuna that got emotions going early.

According to Statcast, the four-seam fastball that caught Acuna was 87.2 mph.

“Zero intent,” Mattingly said. “I'm not sure if he's trying to get in there, or whatever. But I know he's not trying to hit him. That's 100 percent. There's no reason for us to hit Acuna.”

Upset at getting plunked, Acuna moved slowly towards first base, and some tensions rose. Nothing escalated, but home-plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both teams, which didn’t sit well with Snitker.

“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.”

After some heated words, Snitker was tossed by first-base umpire and crew chief, Mark Wegner.

Regarding the warnings, Mattingly said: “They kind of forced those. If [Acuna] goes to first, they can do whatever they want back, and then the warnings come. They force you to do the warnings after that ... so.”

Hernandez created more uneasiness on the Braves’ side when his 88.6 mph fastball hit Hechavarria in the fourth inning. Walt Weiss, Atlanta’s bench coach, spoke briefly with Porter about why Hernandez wasn’t ejected since warnings were issued. It’s umpire’s discretion.

“That's not my game,” Hernandez said. “That's what they saw. My game is to go out there and compete and get outs.”

Hernandez entered the game having hit six batters in 53 1/3 innings. And Acuna, in his first 15 games against the Marlins, was hitting .328 with eight home runs and 15 RBIs.

The All-Star outfielder had not been hit by a pitch in the season series. But on Aug. 15, 2018, at SunTrust Park, Acuna was pegged by on the first pitch, which resulted in benches clearing and Urena getting suspended.

“I don't think that we're throwing at the guy,” Marlins right fielder said. “But at that point, they have to defend their players, and that's their right to do. I just hope nobody gets hurt.”