Greinke out 8 Weeks Following Brawl

Every once in a while you get a good old bench-clearing clearing brawl in baseball. Usually they just feature a lot of players in each other’s faces following a hit batsmen, but not very much else happens. The brawl that occurred on April 11 between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres was worse, however, than just your average brawl. When all was said and done, and the field was cleared of players that night, Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke had a broken collarbone.

It all started in the sixth inning. Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin came up to the plate with no outs in a game that the Dodgers were leading 2-1. On the 3-2 pitch in the at-bat, Greinke nailed Quentin with a pitch right above the elbow. Following the hit, Quentin appeared to begin to walk towards Greinke while Greinke seemed to say something to Quentin.

At this point, insanity just ensued. Quentin charged at Greinke who made a football-like block at Quentin. The two bounced off of each other before grabbing each other again while both team’s benches cleared. Replays of the incident seem to show Quentin pulling Greinke to the ground as players from the two teams piled on top of them.

Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was ejected as a result of a brawl. Kemp went over to the Padres dugout after the field was cleared to see Quentin again once he heard that Greinke was hurt. This resulted in the benches clearing a bit again, but no punches were thrown. Kemp would once again have to be separated from Quentin as they approached each other while leaving the stadium that night. Greinke, Quentin and Dodger’s third baseman Jerry Hariston also were ejected.

At the end of it all, however, Greinke is the only real loser because he is left missing a significant amount of time. Greinke, who just signed a $147 million contract in the offseason with the Dodgers, underwent surgery on Saturday and is expected to miss at least eight weeks.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wants Quentin to be suspended for the amount of time that Greinke will miss. While I think that is a bit of an extreme suspension, I do agree that Quentin is at fault.

Quentin was quick to believe Greinke hit him intentionally because the two have a history according to Quentin. Greinke has hit Quentin three times over the course of his career. However, the last time prior to this game was in 2009. Since 2009, Greinke had faced Quentin multiple times before the game and did not hit him again. Why would Greinke wait so long to hit Quentin again if he was targeting him?

It is also tough to believe that the hit was intentional because of when it occurred during the game. I find it hard to believe that Greinke would put the tying run on base in the sixth inning of a one run game. Greinke was also just a strike away from getting Quentin out. It made no sense for Greinke to hit Quentin when he did.

One last thing to consider is Quentin’s history of getting hit by pitches regardless of the pitcher. Since 2008, Quentin has gotten hit by pitchers more than any other player in Major League Baseball. For all of these reasons, it is tough to believe that Greinke had intentionally hit Quentin which means that Quentin was not justified in charging the mound.

The MLB must have thought Quentin was not justified also because they decided to suspend him eight games. I think this is a pretty fair suspension. Usually a player gets five to six games for charging the mound, and since a player ended up injured when Quentin did it I think it is fair to give him a little bit longer of a suspension. Making him miss the same amount of time as Greinke may be a bit extreme, however, because I do not believe Quentin went to the mound with the intention of breaking Greinke’s collarbone.

The effects of this fight will continue to linger for a while and not just because of Greinke missing eight weeks. The Dodgers and Padres will play each other 16 more times this season. The division rivals now have less love to show for each other and it is going to be interesting to see if the Dodgers ever try to get revenge for Greinke. Once Greinke comes back, it is going to be interesting to see what happens when he faces Quentin again. This is just one of those situations when everyone is going to have to wait and see what will happen.