Miami right-hander Pablo López was ejected on Friday night after the first Marlins pitch of game struck Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr (MIA-ATL GameTracker). Miami manager Don Mattingly and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. were also ejected. Here's a look:
Initially, no one was ejected, but after the umpires consulted with each other -- and perhaps with some lobbying by Braves manager Brian Snitker -- crew chief Dan Iassogna decided ejections were in order even though no warning was in place. Mattingly, to say the least, was not pleased with how things unfolded. Ross Detwiler finally took the mound for the Marlins after a delay of more than 12 minutes.
As you probably guessed given the swift ejections, there's a bit of a history in place. Acuña has now been hit by a pitch five times in 52 career games against the Marlins, which is the highest HBP tally among the teams he's faced. That total doesn't include last year's NLDS between Atlanta and Miami, when the Marlins drilled Acuña, seemingly in retaliation for a home run and a bat flip. That prompted this tweet from Acuña:
They have to hit me , because they don’t get me out 🤫🤫🤫— Ronald Acuna Jr (@ronaldacunajr24) October 6, 2020
The most famous example of Marlins-Acuña hostilities came in August of 2018, when José Ureña went at Acuña with -- yes -- the first Marlins pitch of the game:
At the time of that benches-clearing incident, Acuña had homered in five straight games, including three games against the Marlins.
While López on Friday night didn't appear to be intentionally throwing at Acuña -- it looked like a sinker that got away from him -- the umpires were fully aware of the back-story in place. Fair or not, that's probably what deprived López, Mattingly, and Stottlemyre of the benefit of the doubt.