Will the Zack Greinke-Carlos Quentin Rematch Create More Drama, Fireworks?
The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will wrap up their four-game series at Petco Park over the weekend, and Michael Buffer might be needed for the start of Saturday's tilt.
In the San Diego corner, standing 6'2" and weighing 240 pounds, from Stanford, playing left field: Carlos Quentin!
And in the Los Angeles corner, standing 6'2" and weighing 195 pounds, from Apopka High School, on the mound: Zack Greinke!
Yes, the time has (well, almost) come for the rematch. In case you've forgotten the events of April 11, I'll let Vin Scully take it away:
That collision left Greinke with a broken collarbone that sidelined him for over a month and ultimately resulted in an eight-game suspension for Quentin.
So, unfinished business? Yeah, there could be some between Greinke and Quentin, and Saturday's the day it could be finished.
But first things first. In order for fisticuffs to even have a chance of happening, Quentin has to find his way into Bud Black's starting nine. That's something he's had a hard time doing of late.
Quentin has a bum left shoulder that's rendered him unable to play since last Friday. It's possible that he'll be too sore to play on Saturday, in which case the long-awaited grudge match between him and Greinke will be put on hold.
However, there's a decent chance that Quentin will be able to play. According to their official website, the Padres don't think a stint on the disabled list is going to be necessary for their oft-injured slugger, and Black said Quentin has been "doing better" and "feeling better."
If he does find his way into the lineup, the odds of Greinke hitting him are pretty good, and I'm not saying that because I can read Greinke's mind from very far away.
I'm saying it because, shoot, the odds of a wayward pitch striking Quentin are pretty good just based on what we know about him and Greinke.
What we know about Quentin is this: The guy gets hit a lot. A lot as in A LOT.
Quentin led Major League Baseball in hit-by-pitches in 2011, and he co-led the league with Prince Fielder and Kevin Youkilis last year. He's been hit by 101 pitches since the start of the 2008 season, more than any other player. Not bad for a guy who's on the DL seemingly every other week.
What we know about Greinke, meanwhile, is this: He has shown a tendency to be wild in 2013.
According to FanGraphs, PITCHf/x says Greinke is throwing more pitches in the strike zone this year than he was last year, as his Zone% has gone from 45.1 to 45.3. But Baseball Info Solutions sees things differently, as it has Greinke's Zone% down from 41.2 to 40.1.
In addition, Greinke's game logs reveal that he hasn't had much consistency in the strike zone in 2013:
|Start Date||BIS Zone%|
Greinke has certainly looked a little more wild than usual in the starts that I've watched, and there are some other numbers that say he indeed has been. His first-pitch strike percentage and overall strike percentage are both down, and his walks are up.
And yes, he has hit a few guys. With four HBPs to his name, Greinke has already hit twice as many batters as he did all of last season. He's also tied his season totals from 2011, 2009 and 2008.
Exactly how many of these were intentional is up for debate, but we know that at least one of them was. His beaning of Miguel Montero a couple weeks ago came after Ian Kennedy hit Yasiel Puig in the face, and Greinke undoubtedly sprinkled some purpose on the ball before he let it fly:
Greinke knew what he was getting into when he uncorked that pitch, but he made it clear in that instance that he gave absolutely zero you-know-whats. He's not the kind of guy who's above exacting revenge.
Greinke hasn't sworn revenge against Quentin. Not publicly, anyway, presumably because he was at least a competent battle commander in a past life. If you're going to launch a counterattack against a sworn enemy, it's a good idea not to tell the world.
But in case you missed it, somebody on the Dodgers has sworn revenge.
"We will get him," said an unnamed Dodgers pitcher to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports earlier this month. "It may not be next time we see him. It may not be the time after that. It may not be two times after that. But we will get him. I promise."
So there's that. And on the mound on Saturday will be the one guy who has more reasons than anyone else on the Dodgers to "get" Quentin.
Full disclosure: I could do without stuff like this. I'm not one to encourage beanings, nor am I one to root for them. In this case, I would have absolutely zero problems with Greinke being the better man and leaving Quentin alone on Saturday. That would be golf clap-worthy.
But since Quentin's an HBP magnet, Greinke's prone to wildness and the excuse for revenge is there, all the fixings are in place for something to go down. If Quentin is able to play, there could very well be fireworks.
If it comes to that, here's some parting advice for Greinke: shoulder pads, dude.
Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.
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