San Diego Padres: In Defense of Carlos Quentin After the Brawl

Kevin Goldberg@kevin_goldbergCorrespondent IApril 12, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 11: Carlos Quentin #18 of the San Diego Padres slams into Zack Greinke #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers as he charges the mound during the sixth inning at Petco Park on April 11, 2013 in San Diego, California. Greinke would break his collarbone in the fight. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

By now, you’ve probably heard of the bench-clearing brawl that happened last night during the game between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. Carlos Quentin, after being hit near his left shoulder, rushed the mound to an awaiting Zack Greinke.

The brawl resulted in Matt Kemp, Zack Greinke, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Carlos Quentin being ejected from the game. Worse news, however, is that Greinke suffered a broken collarbone in the fight.

On the surface, it looks as if Quentin rushed at Greinke like a mad man after a relatively easy and unintentional hit-by-pitch. In a one-run game and a full count, it’s easy to assume the hit was an accident and Greinke let the ball get away from him. This superficial cause and effect has led nearly everyone to blame Quentin and cast the shadow of a dirty and mean player.

Even Twitter’s MLB Jesus, the unofficial expert on sin and sinners, blames Quentin.

But let’s take a look and explore if the hit was indeed on accident, and what would prompt Quentin to act the way he did.

Zack Greinke

First and foremost, Greinke and Quentin have a longstanding history dating back to their AL Central days. In 2009, Greinke plunked Quentin, likely on purpose, but the scuffle remained uneventful due to catcher Miguel Olivo and home plate umpire Bill Hohn intervening. Baseball isn’t a game where people just “let it go”. Rivalries and retaliation can often transcend years.

Needless to say, there’s bad blood between the two.

Was the pitch an accident? The situation in the game leads us to believe it was. However, a one-run lead against the run-anemic Padres is a bigger gap than with most teams. Giving the leadoff batter a free pass isn’t the worse thing Greinke could do.

Earlier in the game, Padres’ pitcher Jason Marquis threw a pitch high and inside against Dodgers star Matt Kemp. Could this chin music be the cause of retaliation?

Taking a closer look at the incident, you can see Greinke bark something at Quentin right after the hit. Whatever he said looks to have put Quentin over the edge and caused him to rush the mound. In a postgame interview, Quentin refused to say what Greinke said.

Carlos Quentin

Many have pointed out that Quentin leads the MLB in HBP since 2011, and shouldn’t overreact.

Well, for a man hit 116 times in his career, you think the walk to first would become routine. Quentin also claimed in a postgame interview, “I’ve never responded in that fashion, so you guys [media] can do your homework on that.” Clearly something was different this time.

Sure, he gets hit a lot. But many claim it’s because he crowds the plate and is nearly standing on top of it. Well, let’s take a look at where he was in relation to the plate when he got hit.

For comparison, here’s where Kemp was when he received his chin music earlier in the game.

But what set Quentin off? Could it be what Greinke yelled to him, their history, or the fact he was hit on the wrist on Tuesday, forcing him to rest Wednesday? It could just be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Only Greinke and Quentin know the whole story.

Quentin will likely be suspended four to eight games. Greinke will be out somewhere around six to eight weeks. Kemp’s punishment, or lack thereof, should be interesting, though. The LA Times reports Kemp instigated yet another altercation after the game, and left with the ominous words, “we’ll see.”

To add the ominous theme, the Dodgers Twitter account had some threatening words for the Padres. The tweet, ironically, is a classless move. 

The Padres visit the Dodgers this coming Monday, and tensions will be high. Bleacher Report will be live blogging the game.