Don Mattingly of the Marlins: Umps have been “bullied” into throwing Pablo Lopez for killing Ronald Acuna Jr.
The Marlins lost their starting pitcher after a pitch on Friday night. Pablo Lopez was kicked out for hitting Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. in the triceps with a 91 mph fastball to lead the bottom of the first inning.
But Lopez wasn’t thrown until after the umpires, led by crew chief Dan Iassogna, consulted on the field. And they didn’t meet until after Braves manager Brian Snitker yelled from the dugout to make a fuss. Snitker was furious that another Marlins pitcher had stolen his star outfielder. The number of Acuna HBP against Miami is now six in 55 games, including the playoffs.
“It’s the third time they’ve hit him with the first stroke of the game. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I’ve seen it too many times, ”Snitker told reporters at MLB.com.
The process made Marlins manager Don Mattingly think that Snitker had overhauled the crew for the benefit of his team.
“Basically, Dan was bullied in it,” Mattingly said on his post-game Zoom call to the media. “When it happened, nobody said anything.”
Mattingly and Marlin’s pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. have been kicked out of arguments. Mattingly said several times that the crew “mistreated” the situation.
“I’m really disappointed with the umpiring crew,” he said.
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Good TV analyst Tom Glavine also disagreed with the expulsion and asked why the referees had to consult.
“If you don’t want to throw Lopez out right away, why are you meeting up and having a meeting?” said Glavine.
Mattingly and Lopez both said the game was unintentional. Lopez actually winced after the pitch hit Acuna.
“That was just a badly executed sinker,” said Lopez. “Instead, the ball just ran and unfortunately hit it. That’s not what you want on the first pitch of the night.”
After eventually conquering first base, Acuna scored the only run of the game in a 1-0 win in Atlanta.
He said through an interpreter after the game that the previous thuds made him unsure whether this was intentional.
“It doesn’t matter to me whether it was or not. My only focus is that the team wins,” Acuna said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Mattingly said Iassogna told him history was a factor in Lopez being thrown. In August 2018, Jose Urena plunged Acuna into the left elbow with a 97 mph fastball to start a game after Acuna hit Marlins hard in previous games. Like Lopez, Urena was ejected after a litter. MLB later banned Urena, who is now with the Tigers, for six games.
Mattingly insisted that what happened on Friday had nothing to do with three years ago. He also tried to point out that the Braves are not innocent.
“There’s absolutely nothing going on in the Braves this year,” said Mattingly. “And if Dan tells me about the story and it always happens and it’s always Acuna, it’s just not true. Just not true. I’m pretty sure (Miami Third Baseman) Brian Anderson has been met six times since Acuna was met think (Shortstop Miguel Rojas) maybe (was) hit as many (Ex-Marlin) Pete O’Brien got a broken rib from (Braves pitcher Mike) Soroka 100 percent intentionally (in 2019).
“It’s over, ’18 is over, and for Dan, to tell me this is a story, there was a story in the past of a guy who isn’t even with us anymore.”