Don’t Blame Carlos Quentin
Last week after getting hit by the pitch, Carlos Quentin charged the mound and broke Zack Greinke’s collarbone. Greinke will be out for a third of the season. Quentin will serve an eight game suspension. Some believe Quentin should not be allowed to play until Greinke returns because the whole ordeal was Quentin’s fault. But after investigating the situation it becomes obvious that Greinke deserves just as much blame for his injury as Quentin.
Who would hit a batter with a 3-2 pitch, up by one, with no outs in the 6th inning? It does not seem intelligent, but it does not mean it was an accident. Greinke hit Quentin on purpose for the following reasons:
1. There is bad blood between Quentin and Greinke:
Whether Greinke will admit it or not, these two do not get along. The numbers speak for themselves. When Greinke hit Quentin last week it was his third time doing so. From ’08-‘10 Quentin and Greinke were both in the AL Central with Chicago and Kansas City respectively. Greinke hit 15 batters out of the 2685 (.5%) he faced during that span of time. In 31 plate appearances he hit Quentin twice (6%). According to a former White Sox teammate of Quentin, Paul Konerko, Greinke also threw at Quentin’s head multiple times. There was a much higher frequency of hit batsmen for Greinke against Chicago as well. 10% of the batters Greinke has faced in his career have been White Sox and roughly 20% batters he has pegged were White Sox. Even though they are on different teams now, it is safe to say that Quentin and Grienke are not exactly buddies.
2. Matt Kemp:
Earlier in the game Jason Marquis threw an 0-2 fastball high and tight to Matt Kemp. Kemp took exception. Kemp is the Dodgers three hitter, and Quentin hits third for the Padres. When the best hitter on team A is thrown at it is commonplace in baseball to retaliate by throwing at the best hitter on team B. Kemp may have encouraged Greinke to hit a Padre following his at bat. Further proof that this might have been the case, Kemp was irate after Quentin charged the mound and seemed to be acting like his earlier at bat justified Quentin getting hit.
3. Pitch Location:
AJ Ellis was set up low and away. Quentin usually crowds the plate but he gave Greinke more than enough room to work with inside on this particular pitch. In order to hit Quentin, Greinke would have had to miss his spot three feet wide and three feet high on a fastball. The pitch was thrown 89 mph, which is on the slower side for Greinke so it was not as if he was reaching back for a something extra and lost control.
4. The Padres Lineup:
No one in the Padres lineup provides a threat. Putting Quentin on base in that situation is not as costly as it would be if the Padres were any other team. Following Quentin in the lineup that night were Yonder Alonso, who had struck out in his previous AB, rookie Jed Gyrko, and Nick Hundley who hit .157 last season. Not exactly murderers’ row.
5. Carlos Quentin would know:
Quentin has been hit by the pitch 116 times in his career and is the active leader in HBP/162 games with 26. He has never charged the mound. Something prompted him to charge the mound for the first time last week, and it is doubtful it was a coincidence Greinke was pitching.
Zack Greinke walks away with the most damage but that does not mean that he is the victim. He had just as much to do with his injury as Carlos Quentin, it just takes a deeper look to understand how.