Could A.J. Ellis have stopped Carlos Quentin from attacking Zack Greinke?
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke might have been able to avoid the broken collarbone he suffered when San Diego's Carlos Quentin charged the mound after getting hit by a pitch on April 11.
All Greinke had to do was inform catcher A.J. Ellis that there was a very contentious relationship between himself and Quentin dating back to their days in the American League Central with the Royals and White Sox.
At least that is what Greinke, who was at Dodgers Stadium for the game against San Diego, told reporters on Wednesday (via ESPN Los Angeles).
I should have told (Ellis). I knew anyone with the White Sox has always labeled me as someone that does stuff. I didn't think it would happen, but looking back at it I should have warned him. I know he would feel a lot better about it.
For those that don't know, Greinke had hit Quentin with a pitch twice before this latest incident that prompted Quentin to charge the mound and lead to the injury that will keep Greinke out for at least two months.
Plus, Quentin getting hit with a pitch is nothing new. Since the start of the 2010 season, no one has been awarded first base after being hit by a pitch more than the Padres slugger. He has been hit 62 times in the last three-plus years, 13 more than the next closest player, Robinson Cano.
But what makes that stat even more alarming is the fact that Quentin, who has been injury prone throughout his career, has played in 154 fewer games than Cano. (h/t Fangraphs)
You can see when he steps in the box that his left elbow is on top of home plate, making it easier for an inside pitch to graze his elbow. He even wears an elbow pad to protect himself from getting injured.
Did Zack Greinke make a mistake not letting A.J. Ellis know of his history with Carlos Quentin?
For his career, Quentin has been hit 116 times. Never before had he charged the mound, but on this particular day he decided to attack.
After the game, Quentin blamed whatever it was that Greinke said for why he decided to charge the mound (via mlb.com).
But given the history that Quentin and Greinke have, not to mention the fact that Quentin has a much larger frame, it is curious why Ellis wasn't made aware of the situation.
The easiest answer is that this appeared to be an accident on Greinke's part. If there was something malicious behind the plunking, Greinke, presumably, would have let his catcher know so he could step in.
Some will look at the pitch and point out that Ellis was set up outside only for it to run way inside and hit Quentin on the arm, not characteristic of a pitcher known for good control.
But if that is truly the case, why would Greinke go to a full count before hitting Quentin? That's where the conspiracy theories don't hold up.
Another possible answer could be that Greinke had blocked out his history with Quentin. After all, we are talking about something that dates back to the 2008 and 2009 seasons. How much do you remember from those years?
Again, playing anti-conspiracy theorist, athletes are like elephants. It doesn't matter how far removed an incident is, they don't forget anything that happens when they are on the field.
Perhaps the answer for why Greinke didn't tell Ellis—or anyone else who might have stepped in to help avoid this situation—doesn't exist.
That isn't the sexy answer fans want, especially when one of their high-priced superstars is on the shelf for two months, but it is the most logical. Greinke, while certainly a fiery competitor, doesn't have the kind of personal agenda to risk himself for the sake of the team.
Quentin clearly overreacted to the situation, regardless of what Greinke said on the mound afterward. Ellis did have a chance to step in between the two right away, but by the time the situation escalated, there was no stopping it.
It was just one of those unfortunate situations that one player took to the absolute extreme, resulting in a significant injury to a key player on a marquee franchise.
For more conspiracy theories about Zack Greinke, or other on-field things surrounding the game of baseball, feel free to hit me up on Twitter.