Carlos Quentin charges mound, Zack Greinke suffers broken collarbone

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Carlos Quentin charged the mound after being drilled by Zack Greinke, leading to a benches-clearing incident in the sixth inning of Thursday’s Dodgers-Padres game.

Greinke, a right-hander, suffered a broken left collarbone in the fight that ensued and is likely DL bound.

Don Mattingly, steamed after what turned out to be a 3-2 win, said afterwards, “[Quentin] should not play a game until Greinke can pitch. If he plays before Greinke, something is wrong. Nothing happens if that guy goes to first base.”

Despite the fact that there was a full count at the time, Quentin obviously felt Greinke’s pitch was intentional after a Jason Marquis 0-2 pitch was thrown towards Matt Kemp’s head earlier in the contest. Kemp spent a great deal of time jawing with the Padres with both teams on the field and had to be restrained by Josh Beckett and manager Don Mattingly.

After the parties returned to the dugouts initially, the Dodgers’ Jerry Hairston Jr. sprinted back out towards the Padres dugout, stirring things back up.

Here’s the video:

Following the game, Quentin and Kemp got into an altercation in the players parking lot and had to be separated.

Kemp, Hairston, Greinke and Quentin were all ejected. Quentin will face a five- or six-game suspension if history is any indication.

Greinke is the bigger loss, though. He signed the richest contract of the offseason — a six-year, $147 million pact — to become the Dodgers’ No. 2 starter behind Clayton Kershaw. A broken collarbone is often a 6-8 week injury for most players. That it’s to Greinke’s off arm may aid his timetable a bit, but it’s not something he’ll be able to pitch through right away.

Fortunately, the Dodgers do possess considerable pitching depth, even after trading Aaron Harang earlier this week. They could either activate Ted Lilly from the DL and put him in the rotation or they could promote Chris Capuano from the bullpen.

Previous bad blood between Greinke and Quentin could explain why Quentin charged the mound. Greinke hit Quentin in the back with a pitch on April 8, 2009, and Quentin took steps toward the mound that time before catcher Miguel Olivo restrained him. That happened in the fourth inning of a game between the Royals and White Sox. Three innings earlier, Greinke had a pitch slip that nearly hit Quentin in the head.

“He had a reason for [being upset],” Greinke told MLB.com afterwards. “Any time you throw it that high, it’s justified. You’ve got to be better than that and not pitch like that. You’re going to make mistakes, but the last thing you want to do is hit someone where it could seriously hurt them. As soon as I let go of it, I was scared for him.”

Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak ended 78 years ago today

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There’s nothing special about a 78-year anniversary. It’s not a round number or anything and we tend to like round numbers. But (a) I was reminded of this today; and (b) we have no idea if the Martians will have invaded and taken over the planet come 2021, so I feel like it’s best to run this now than wait for the 80th anniversary. Cool? Cool.

Anyway: on this day in 1941, Joe DiMaggio’s still-unbroken and possibly unbreakable (see below) 56-game hitting streak came to end. The game took place in Cleveland in front of a staggering 67,468 fans. Not bad for a Thursday night. The way the streak ended, courtesy of an ESPN Classic post from Larry Scwartz back in 2003:

Third baseman Ken Keltner makes two outstanding plays, grabbing DiMaggio smashes down the line in the first and seventh innings and throwing him out at first base. In between these at-bats, left-hander Al Smith walks DiMaggio in the fourth.

The Yankee Clipper has one more chance to extend his streak when he bats in the eighth with the bases full against Jim Bagby, a young right-hander who just enters the game. DiMaggio hits the ball sharply, but shortstop Lou Boudreau plays a bad hop perfectly and turns the grounder into a double play.

Stuff happens.

To be clear: 56 may not be broken in my lifetime or yours. It’s obviously a SUPER difficult task to string together a hitting streak of considerable length. As we saw when guys like Pete Rose or Paul Molitor or whoever have come within spitting distance of DiMaggio’s record — long spitting distance — the pressure ramps up and it’s hard to do you job with a lot of pressure. Add in the fact that simple base hits are harder to come by in today’s game than they used to be due to prevalent hitting, pitching and defensive trends, and it’d be no shocker whatsoever if no one ever does it.

But I draw the line at “unbreakable,” simply because, as noted above, stuff does happen. And because there’s nothing structural preventing it from happening. It’s not like Cy Young’s 511 wins or something which fundamental changes in the game have made basically impossible. No one is going to win 26 games a year for 20 years straight or what have you. Heck, CC Sabathia is baseball’s current gray hair among pitchers and only has a few dozen more career starts than that. It’s just a different game.

Hitters do play in 150-160 games now, though, and the good ones do average more than one hit per game. Putting them in the right arrangement may never be likely, but doing so is only a matter of stars aligning, not breaking the fundamental rules of engagement. It could happen. Maybe. Because, unlike some other records, it did before under broadly similar circumstances.

OK, that aside, I’ll offer up my favorite and most maddening DiMaggio hitting streak fact.

During his streak, which lasted from May 15-July 17, DiMaggio went 91-of-223, which is a .408 average. Between April 15-September 28 (i.e. the whole dang season) Ted Williams hit .406. And when it was all said and done he was substantially better in virtually every other batting category as well.

Joe DiMaggio won the MVP Award.