Zack Greinke vs. Carlos Quentin: Who's to Blame for Dodgers-Padres Brawl?

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Zack Greinke vs. Carlos Quentin: Who's to Blame for Dodgers-Padres Brawl?
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The melee in San Diego on Thursday night between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres resulted in a broken collarbone for Zack Greinke, which could serve to derail the Dodgers' season.

While Quentin blamed his actions on a comment Greinke made after the pitch, the starting pitcher's teammates defended him and even debated on an appropriate suspension for the Padres left fielder (via MLB.com).

More often than not, the pitcher is to blame for brawls that transpire after beanings. Famously, the Yankees-Orioles rivalry of the mid-'90s came to a head during a heated brawl in Yankee Stadium after Armando Benitez placed a fastball between Tino Martinez's shoulder blades in May of 1998.

Fifteen years later, a pair of National League West rivals became entrenched in a similar altercation, which is sure to spill over into Monday's series in Los Angeles.

Despite Greinke's ability to command his stuff and his lack of remorse in the immediacy of the pitch, the blame does not belong on the pitcher in this instance. Instead, the blame lies on Quentin, who, after being hit 115 times during his major league career, decided that No. 116 was the straw that broke the camel's back. 

Before assuming intent on Greinke's part, consider the game situation: a 3-2 count to Quentin, with the Dodgers leading 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning. As Dodgers manager Don Mattingly put it, the idea of Greinke giving San Diego a free baserunner there is nonsense.

"That shows zero understanding of the game of the baseball," Mattingly said (via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register). "He's not throwing at him at 3-2 in a 2-1 game."

Did Greinke hit Quentin on purpose?

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Of course, this, in the eyes of Quentin at least, was about more than a pitch that got away from the former Cy Young Award winner. 

Dating back to when both Greinke and Quentin were rivals in the American League Central beginning in 2008, there is a hit-by-pitch pattern. 

Heading into Thursday, Quentin was 6-for-24 off Greinke in his career, but had been awarded first base by way of HBP on three separate occasions. Even so, history doesn't give justification for Quentin's actions.

If you are a believer in the old-school mantra of players policing themselves, the Padres outfielder should have taken first base and allowed his pitching staff to retaliate for him. But by taking matters into his own hands, Quentin might have cost San Diego the game, and definitely sacrificed his services for what is likely to be a lengthy suspension.

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The fact that Greinke—signed to a $147 million deal in the offseason—got hurt in the process gives the incident more publicity, but it would have been a reckless move on Quentin's part regardless of the hurler's status with his organization. 

The Dodgers have every right to be angry right now. An eighth-inning home run by Juan Uribe secured a much-needed win over an inferior opponent, but the battle will wage on between these teams over the course of the summer. Fans will be treated to 16 more Dodger-Padre games in 2013, including 10 between now and the All-Star break.

San Diego has the right to be angry with its own player here as well. Other San Diego hitters, including the pitcher's spot in the order, will be on high alert come Monday at Chavez Ravine.

If another brawl ensues or a Padre is hurt by an inside pitch, fans will look back on Quentin's actions as the start of an unnecessary feud.



Was Carlos Quentin justified in charging the mound on Thursday night? Comment below, follow me on Twitter or "Like" my Facebook page to talk all things baseball!

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