Bad blood doesn’t stay in the regular season.
It rose back up Tuesday between the Braves and Marlins in Game 1 of the NLDS, when Ronald Acuña was plunked by Sandy Alcantara in his first at-bat since crushing a home run and adding a bat flip.
After taking the 98 mph fastball off the hip, Acuña took a few a steps toward the mound before eventually cooling off and taking first base.
“If he’s getting ready to fight, I’m ready to fight too,” Alcantara said after the Braves’ 9-5 win.
Acuña, meanwhile, made no mistake about his bat flip.
“I’d like to take this time to apologize to absolutely NOBODY,” the 22-year-old star wrote on Instagram, mimicking a famous Conor McGregor post-fight quote.
“They have to hit me, because they don’t get me out,” he added in a tweet.
It’s not the first time Acuña and the Marlins have sparred. In 2018, Acuña had led off three straight games with home runs against the Marlins. Jose Ureña made sure it didn’t happen a fourth straight game by hitting Acuña with the first pitch of the game, which led to the benches clearing and tempers flaring.
Acuña has now been hit by Miami pitchers five times over the last three years, but the Marlins claim there is no intent.
“I just tried to go inside against [Acuña] and I hit him,” Alcantara said. “I don’t know why they overthink it like every time we hit Acuna it’s on purpose. We go inside pitching inside to him. And we keep throwing inside to him no matter what.”
Marlins manager Don Mattingly echoed that sentiment.
“I know he didn’t hit him on purpose,” Mattingly said. “With Acuna, he’s a guy you can’t just lay the ball over the plate. I looked at it and it was a good ways in, but he’s trying to run a ball on the plate there. It got further in than what he wanted.”
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