You never want to see a ball strike a person at a baseball game, be it from a foul ball sent screaming into the stands or a fastball erroneously placed on a hand, arm, or leg. During the third inning of Saturday’s Phillies-Braves game, Atlanta starter Sean Newcomb had a close call in the worst way possible after J.T. Realmuto‘s 102-m.p.h. line drive ricocheted off of back of the pitcher’s head.
As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reported, Newcomb was able to exit the field without additional assistance. It’s expected that he’ll undergo a more thorough evaluation later tonight or tomorrow, at which point the extent of any potential injury will be revealed.
Prior to the incident, Newcomb recorded just 2 2/3 innings with three hits, two runs, two walks, and three strikeouts allowed. The lefty was swiftly replaced by Touki Toussaint, who finished off the third inning with a hit-by-pitch and two run-scoring plays, including an error by Josh Donaldson and an RBI double that brought the inning to a close as Tyler Flowers tagged Jay Bruce at the plate for the third out.
The Phillies currently lead 4-2 in the fourth inning.
The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.
In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.
Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.