Last night we saw a 6th inning brawl between the Dodgers and the Padres that was sandwiched by something called a “baseball game” on both sides of it.
The altercation, set off when Zack Greinke hit Carlos Quentin on a 3-2 pitch, resulted in the ejections of Jerry Hairston Jr., Matt Kemp, Greinke, and Quentin. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles, Quentin broke the starter’s collarbone after he barreled into him and both players fell to the ground.
Many are determining who is to blame for last night’s altercation and Greinke’s injury, and I for one believe that blame cannot simply be placed on one party alone. In fact, multiple players should evaluate their actions/inactivity from last night, because those events from the 6th inning are likely going to stick in the minds of many for a while.
At least to me, the biggest person at fault from last night’s brawl is, and should be Carlos Quentin. Even as a Padre fan, Quentin’s actions last night disgusted me.
I for one would like to call the left fielder’s “baseball I.Q.” into question for his dense and childish behavior from last night, because the odds of him “being intentionally plunked” in last night’s situation were non-existent.
I mean, any pitcher, no matter what kind of bad blood they have with the opposing hitter, would be a downright moron to put the leadoff hitter on base in a 1-run game in the bottom of the 6th inning. I questioned why Quentin was so upset when it happened, and I simply figured “hey, the Padres have the leadoff guy on base” before the situation escalated into what it did.
Furthermore, it’s not like Greinke’s pitch was in the neighborhood of where Jason Marquis’ was to Matt Kemp earlier in the ballgame. Marquis’ pitch was far more “high and tight,” and Kemp simply controlled his emotions and continued the at-bat. Had Quentin controlled his emotions better, or been the only one to overreact after the pitch, he would have been the only person at fault in last night’s game, and deserved every sort of negative criticism imaginable for his actions.
Unfortunately, it definitely “takes two to tango,” and the right-handed starter is nowhere near the “victim” that many Dodger fans are claiming him to be from last night’s scuffle. In fact, go back to the tape and watch what happens after Quentin is hit. If one looks closely, one can see that Greinke obviously said something to the Padres’ left fielder that sent him into a rage. Had Greinke simply shut his mouth and walked back to the mound, there likely would not have been a confrontation at all. I mean, continuing to escalate a hostile situation with snide comments is no way to diffuse an already enraged opponent, and Greinke should have been mature enough to realize that simple fact.
Plus, how stupid can a player be to mouth off to a guy who is not only acting irrationally, but also outweighs him by close to 50 lbs.? Grienke and the Dodgers would have been best served if the $147 million dollar investment had understood who he hit and kept a cooler head than Quentin did. Had that happened, San Diego’s left fielder would have been the raving lunatic had he approached Greinke in any way shape and form.
Unfortunately, Zack did not want to be the bigger and more mature person during last night’s events. His mouth simply wrote a check at the wrong time, and his frail and skinny frame could not cash it. Then again, Greinke really didn’t receive any sort of help from his teammates to diffuse “Hurricane Carlos” last night either.
A.J. Ellis & the rest of Los Angeles’ Infield
With the escalation of the situation in mind though, Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis should not be absolved of any blame for what took place. I know that it is not his job to be Greinke’s body-guard, but why he didn’t get in front of or at least try to tackle Quentin the second he started towards the mound made zero sense whatsoever.
It took a while before Carlos eventually charged the mound last night, and he should have been in front of him or at least restraining him the second he took a step towards the pitching mound. And where were the rest of the Dodger infielders who should have been ready to step in and diffuse that situation to help their pitcher who was at a tremendous size disadvantage? When a $147 million dollar investment and the second best pitcher on a team is being threatened, I know that if I’m Greinke’s teammate, I’m taking care of Quentin before he takes two steps towards my expensive and important teammate.
What will transpire in terms of suspensions and games missed now?
Well, Greinke will likely be shelved for six to eight weeks due to his injuy, and it definitely hurts the Dodgers to lose their #2 starter.
As far as Quentin in concerned, Los Angeles’ manager Don Mattingly believes that Quentin should not be able to play until Greinke can. I know that Mattingly is only trying to stick up for his pitcher, but maybe he should tell him not to chirp with a guy who is far bigger than he is. Greinke’s behavior simply welcomed the negative consequences and repercussions brought on by the immature Quentin. Greinke in no way deserved to be injured, but it’s asinine to believe that picking fights and talking smack to people bigger than you is a recipe for anything but disaster.
Had Quentin taken a charge at Greinke unprovoked, then yes, I could definitely understand a long-term suspension like the one Mattingly referred to before. But “Donny Baseball” is unlikely to get his wish because Greinke attempted to sink to Quentin’s thug-like level last night, and San Diego’s left fielder will likely ride the pine for a short-stretch. I am sure that Carlos will receive a suspension for his actions, but it unlikely to be for as long as most Dodger fans, coaches, and players want.
Regardless of where blame is ultimately placed though, next week’s series in Los Angeles should be quite interesting. I’m sure that Quentin will receive a few pitches in between his numbers though.