Ronald Acuña Jr, the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins go a long way back. They hate each other and don't even try to hide him. He's always had their number and they reply bit hitting him every 40 at-bats, which is double than his average HBP by any other team.
Things can get heated in the blink of an eye in Major League Baseball when two teams have a history, especially in the postseason and even more when you have a trash-talker like Ronald Acuña Jr on the field.
That's why everybody expected yet another bench-clearing brawl when Sandy Alcántara got Ronald Acuña Jr in the hip in his second plate appearance of Game 1 of the NLDS after he hit a lead-off home run in the first inning (that came with a huge bat-flip, obviously).
Don Mattingly And Sandy Alcántara Say He Didn't Hit Him On Purpose
“I knew he didn’t hit him on purpose. With Acuña, he’s a guy that you got to (...) You can’t just lay the ball out over the plate. Obviously, that ball, I looked at it, it was a good ways in. But he’s trying to run the ball off the plate there, or start it on the plate and run it off. And it got further off than he wanted, or further in than he wanted," Marlins coach Don Mattingly told MLB.com.
“I just tried to go inside against him, and I hit him. I don’t know why they are always thinking every time we hit Acuña, it’s on purpose. We all the time try to pitch inside to him. We keep throwing inside to him, no matter what happens," Alcántara added.
Ronald Acuña Jr Taunts Marlins By Saying They Can't Get Him Out
Ronald Acuña Jr was pretty succinct when asked about that situation. He was calmed and articulate by claiming that he wasn't going to put a team in a tough position by going at Alcántara:
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence, just because every time we’ve played in a series, I’ve been the one who has been hit. But I’m not going to give it any thought. I’m just going to keep focusing on winning," Acuña said.
However, it didn't take long before that sober and mature attitude wore out, as the Venezuelan superstar took it to social media to say that the Marlins always hit him because they can't get him out, then posting that he'd like to apologize to absolutely nobody.
Acuña Jr is one of the league's most electrifying and entertaining players, as well as a harsh trash-talker, so this shouldn't come as a surprise. Hopefully, the Marlins will focus only on playing and we don't see any ejections when it matters the most.