Don’t expect fireworks in Dodgers-Padres rematch Monday

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Tempers have just a few days to cool off before the Dodgers and Padres play in Los Angeles on Monday. That Matt Kemp wants a piece of Carlos Quentin is undeniable, and it’s safe to say he’s not the only Dodger who feels that way — he’s just the biggest and strongest.

Still, those expecting anything more than a typical ballgame Monday are likely to be disappointed for a few reasons.

First, April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day in MLB. The Dodgers take that day even a little more seriously than the rest of the league does, and it’s safe to say that the commissioner’s office will let it be known the league is not to be embarrassed on that date. What a mess it would be if a brawl broke out between 50 guys wearing Jackie’s No. 42 on their backs.

Second, Don Mattingly would look like a pretty big hypocrite if, after all of his righteous anger last night, he let his players take matters into their own hands and go ahead Quentin. Mattingly called for Quentin to be suspended for however long Greinke is absent. That’s not going to happen, of course. But Mattingly would look really bad if one of his players went and knocked Quentin out for a considerable period of time.

Third, it’s just too obvious anyway. The Dodgers don’t seem to have any issues with any Padres except Quentin. There’s no reason for them to drill anyone else. And if they retaliate at Quentin now, they’ll just be hurting themselves with the suspensions sure to result. The Dodgers and Padres play six series this year. There will be plenty of time for them to take aim at Quentin later, if they so choose. Or maybe they could just be the bigger men and focus on beating the Padres on the scoreboard.

Video: Justin Verlander reaches career mark with 270th strikeout

Justin Verlander
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Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.

Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.

Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.

After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.