CHICAGO – Ryan Vogelsong didn’t have anything to say about Thursday night’s brawl in San Diego, in which Carlos Quentin charged the mound and Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke sustained a broken collarbone.
But Vogelsong made his thoughts about Quentin known last August, when the outfielder took umbrage upon getting hit with a pitch and the Padres later plunked Brandon Belt in apparent retaliation.
“The guy hammers balls over the plate and then gets pissed when you throw them inside,” Vogelsong said at the time. “Doesn’t make sense. … Every time you hit a guy in this game, they think you did it on purpose. It’s tired.”
It will take awhile to sort out the ramifications, including the length of Quentin’s forthcoming suspension. Greinke is out for two months while his fracture heals; it’s a significant blow to the Dodgers, who made him the signature piece of their offseason improvements.
And umpires will be on high alert for every one of those 16 games that remain between the Padres and Dodgers this season.
It sure looks like all of this will play out to the Giants’ advantage. The Dodgers will be deprived of one of the best pitchers in the NL, and the Padres will be motivated to beat them all season.
But sometimes brawls can bring a team together. It can forge bonds between teammates when they see that they have each other’s backs. I’ve seen it happen a few times. (I’ve seen a brawl between teammates spark a club, too.) It could be what the Dodgers, a group of assembled, high-priced players behind a relatively inexperienced manager, need to come together.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy isn’t buying that song, though.
“Well, both clubs are coming together, I guess,” he said. “I think too much can be made of that. But part of this game is protecting each other, the pitchers protecting the hitters. That’s the way it always will be.”
Bochy didn’t have much more of a reaction to the brawl, other than to say, “Boys will be boys. … You hate to see anybody get hurt in those brawls.”
Bochy said he “totally understand the point” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made about how Quentin’s suspension should last as long as Greinke is lost to Los Angeles. Bochy stopped short of agreeing with it, though.
“Listen, it’s competitive out there,” Bochy said. “You’re in the heat of the moment. You can talk all you want but there will be times when tempers are going to flare.”