The Marlins lost Game 1 of the NLDS 9-5 to the Braves on Tuesday, primarily due to a six-run seventh inning by the Braves offense. Despite the loss, it was exactly the kind of game any fan should want to see in the playoffs and also provided plenty of optimism for Marlins faithful over the rest of the series.
The Marlins lost for the first time in 10 days. Don’t overreact. https://t.co/WWKZQlUGx1— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) October 6, 2020
Ronald Acuña began the game with a leadoff homerun to the opposite field on a ball on the outer half of the plate from Sandy Alcantara. The young slugger stood, admired it, then punctuated it with a bat flip. Alcantara kept his composure and got out of the inning without more damage.
The Marlins offense got going early off of Braves budding ace, Max Fried. Miguel Rojas answered Acuña’s blast with one of his own to lead off the top of the second. Miami strung several hits together for a 4-1 lead after their half of the third.
And that’s when the drama started. With one out and the bases empty, Alcantara plunked Acuña with a 98 MPH fastball to the hip. Given the history between Acuña and the Marlins, it made sense he’d be upset. He took a few steps towards Alcantara and chirped at the Miami dugout. Warnings were issued to both benches, causing a Brian Snitker conniption fit.
"Yeah I was upset, I think visibly."— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) October 6, 2020
Brian Snitker addresses Ronald Acuña Jr. getting hit by another pitch against Miami ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/krEwvWKPfG
At least Snitker agreed with the Marlins that the pitch was not intentional. It just wouldn’t make sense to put runners on base early in a three-run ballgame and Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna coming up. And while Freeman would fly out, Ozuna and Travis d’Arnaud doubled consecutively to prove the point and make the score 4-3 after three.
Alcantara faced Acuña a third time with two out and two on in the fourth. This time, the 25-year-old won the battle, and with the same pitch he’d hit Acuña with an inning earlier — a 98 MPH sinker. Only this time, it was in the zone.
The next two innings were quiet ones for both teams. Alcantara would get the ball again in the seventh and give up a leadoff single to Austin Riley before getting to face Acuña for a fourth time and giving up a single. Although our Juan Páez says you can’t blame Mattingly for bringing in Yimi Garcia when he did, I have to disagree.
Garcia should have been brought in earlier to face Acuña, or to start the inning himself. As Ely pointed out in the recap, Garcia only inherited three runners all season. And you’re just playing with fire letting anyone face one of the best young hitters in baseball a fourth time.
As it turned out, Garcia wasn’t up to the task. Riley would eventually score, as would five more Braves in the inning. Still, Alcantara’s strong outing and a solid showing by the offense provided plenty of reasons for optimism heading into Game 2.
Adding to the intrigue of the series, both sides exchanged bulletin-board material after the game. Acuña unapologetically hit all the relevant social media, posting a little trash talk on both Twitter and Instagram.
They have to hit me , because they don’t get me out— Ronald Acuna Jr (@ronaldacunajr24) October 6, 2020
And in the postgame presser, when asked about Acuña’s taking a few steps toward the mound, Alcantara says he’s ready if Acuña wants to fight (around the 1:25 mark).
The series has already brought much of the intrigue one could have hoped for in just one game. Game 2 should only build on that. Pablo López takes the hill against Ian Anderson at 2:08 ET.
- Nicole Cahill has everything you need to know about the series with the Braves.
- Ely calls BS on MLB’s scheduling of the series. I couldn’t agree more.
- Marlins BBQ pod has talks smack and makes NLDS predictions.
- Francisco Cervelli announced his retirement. We wish him well.
- Juan Paez lays out the front office’s blueprint to 2020 success.