Every Braves fan at least knows the name of Marlins pitcher Jose Urena; every die-hard fan has been waiting for this day since last August.
Atlanta embarks on a long road trip starting today which will take them all around the states. Tonight, as the Braves looks for better fortunes after a forgetful 11-2 loss yesterday afternoon, they are in Miami to take on the Marlins. Though, this game will have a little extra juice to it. Braves’ Country is looking for more than just a win; they’re looking for some good, old-fashioned payback.
Ever since that first pitch on August 16th, 2018, tensions have been high between the two clubs. Acuña came up to start the game, fresh off his 5th straight outing with a home run, looking to extend that to six. Jose Urena had some….other ideas.
Marlins pitcher José Ureña has received a six-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for intentionally hitting Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves last night. pic.twitter.com/p2pkAGG303
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) August 16, 2018
The Braves sport most of the same squad to take on Urena and the Fish from last season’s dramatic game, undoubtedly with revenge on their minds. Now, I’m not one to condone immediate retaliation in the same tone of a 97 mph fastball to the hand, but rather revenge in the form of an 11-0 first inning. While that seems farfetched, it’s not entirely crazy to imagine.
Braves Bats against Urena
The Braves enter tonight’s game sporting a .292 team average with 5 HR and 23 RBI’s in 120 AB’s against the hot-headed Miami ace. Our key bats tonight will be Freeman (.400, 2 HR, 5 RBI), Inciarte (.350, 1 HR, 3 RBI), Nick Markakis (.318, 6 RBI, only 3 K’s) and, of course, the man himself, Ronald Acuña. Josh Donaldson will also make his return after missing the previous three games with calf tightness.
Acuña’s slash line against Urena isn’t all too impressive (.143, 0 HR/RBI, 3 K’s in 7 AB’s), but payback will be the underlying tone in every one of his AB’s tonight. While a moonshot off the bat of the young phenom isn’t a surprising sight anymore, I especially won’t be shocked to see him launch one (or maybe two) into the awkward gap where the home run sculpture used to sit.
Revenge and grudges aside, there’s a ballgame that needs to be played tonight, and the Braves are in no position to be dropping games to the lowly Fish. Let’s take a look at the pitching splits:
JOSE URENA: 1-4, 5.08 ERA
Urena comes in today trying to continue what’s been a long-winded redemption tour on his end. His first three starts of the season weren’t the benchmark of an ace for any team. But, he’s rebounded over his recent outings, putting up a 2.25 ERA and 4.32 FIP over the last few. He comes in tonight’s game not only looking for another positive outing but also to put an exclamation mark on a sentence written almost a year ago; “don’t mess with me”.
KEVIN GAUSMAN: 1-2, 4.80 ERA
Gausman’s 2019 hasn’t been too much of a banner year so far, starting the season late after dealing with shoulder issues. He came back to the club strong but saw things slip through the cracks after his first start. In his two most recent outings, Gausman has surrendered ten earned runs in 10 1/3 innings.
There’s a silver lining in all those runs, thankfully. In four career appearances against the Marlins, Gausman is 3-1 with a 1.52 ERA. At Marlins Park, he is 1-0 with a perfect 0.00 ERA in five innings.
The grudge match for the ages starts tonight at 7:10 at Marlins Park. You can catch all the action on Fox Sports Southeast, MLBNetwork or with an active MLB.TV subscription.