This was not one of those bench-clearing brawls that ends in staredowns and stompoffs back to the dugout.
What erupted between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres had real consequences, with the Dodgers’ $147 million pitcher, Zack Greinke, suffering a broken left collarbone and outfielder Matt Kemp steaming.
It started with Carlos Quentin facing Greinke, whose pitches had struck him twice in the past, in the sixth inning. Quentin, who has been hit by pitches 97
57 times since 2008, had missed Wednesday’s game after being struck by a pitch. With a full count, the combination of Greinke’s presence on the hill, being the human HBP and a few choice words from Greinke were just too much for Quentin.
Quentin charged the mound, on a collision course with Greinke, who lowered his shoulder like a defensive end. The two sprawled, players joined in and Quentin and Greinke ended up at the bottom of the scrum. As the situation cooled down, Kemp, who’d been buzzed by a pitch from Jason Marquis in the first inning, was still hot and hurled expletives around the field, believing, as Vin Scully put it, that the situation was “fertilizer.” Quentin, Greinke, Kemp and Jerry Hairston Jr. were ejected.
After the game, Kemp confronted Quentin near the players’ exit at Petco Park before Padres Pitcher Clayton Richard, security and police stepped in.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly was outraged. “We’re in a 2-1 game and on a 3-2 pitch to a guy that I see on the [score]board set a record for the Padres by getting hit, a guy who basically dives into the plate,” Mattingly said. “In a 2-1 game, we’re trying to hit him, 3-2?
“It’s just stupid is what it is. He should not play a game until Greinke can pitch. If he plays before Greinke pitches, something is wrong.”
Well, that’s not going to happen. Quentin may be suspended, but he won’t be gone as long as Greinke.
“The only thing I’m going to say about the whole thing that happened there,” Greinke said, “is I’ve never hit him on purpose. I never thought of hitting him on purpose.”
Kemp blew his stack when Greinke told him he was hurt.
“I’m asking Greinke if he’s okay and he said his shoulder’s messed up. That kind of took me over the edge right there,” he told reporters. “That’s terrible for him to charge the mound like that. I think Carlos Quentin went to Stanford. I heard there’s some smart people at Stanford. That wasn’t too smart.”
There’s a little more to it than that, though. For openers, Quentin didn’t immediately drop the bat and rush the mound. He took a few steps, then took off after Greinke said something to him. The Dodgers’ catcher could have stepped in, but did not.
“It’s unfortunate. It could have been avoided. You can ask Zack about that,” Quentin said. For me, I’ve been hit by many pitches in my career. I think you guys know that. I can tell you I’ve never responded in that fashion, so you guys can do your homework on that. For me, the situation is done. That’s it.”
Mattingly continued to speak about the inequity of the situation. ”Their guy charges the mound, being an idiot, and our guy is going to be out for however long. Their guy’ll probably be playing in three days. It’s a joke.”
The Dodgers and Padres turn around and play again, starting Monday, in Dodger Stadium. On Jackie Robinson Day. The Dodgers may already have won.
See you on Monday in Los Angeles: twitter.com/Dodgers/status…
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 12, 2013