One question many Los Angeles Dodgers fans will ask themselves today is, “how well will Yasiel Puig play today?” The 22-year-old rookie will make his MLB debut tonight against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium, and all eyes are sure to be focused on the young Cuban phenom.
But I have a bigger question: will the Dodgers plunk Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin?
Remember him, right? He is the 240-pound bison who charged the mound after Zack Greinke hit him with a 3-2 fastball in the sixth inning of a one-run game. The altercation resulted in Greinke missing a month with a broken collarbone and Quentin serving an eight-game suspension.
Since the brawl on that April evening in San Diego, the Dodgers have been awful. They haven’t been able to recover. The incident was the match that started the flames of the Dodgers demise and the downward spiral to last place in the National League West. They are 17-29 since the brawl, and have not won more than two consecutive games during that span.
So, yes, the Dodgers are upset.
The Baseball Gods did not set up a Greinke-Quentin rematch this series, but tonight will be the first time Quentin returns to the batter’s box against the Dodgers.
Chris Capuano is slated to make the start on the hill for L.A., but reports of a strain in his triceps may force the Dodgers to start minor leaguer Stephen Fife. The spotlight will be on one of those two pitchers, and the question is will they retaliate?
Umpires will surely be on the lookout for anything fishy. Maybe Quentin will get hit in the back early in the game and everyone will move on. They also could wait later in the series so it doesn’t look so obvious, or later in the game if the Dodgers are holding on to a big lead.
I am no soothsayer, but I would guess that Quentin will get hit at some point. That’s just the culture of the game these days. Teammates stick together, and during a time when the Dodgers need to gel more than ever, I see Capuano or Fife throwing at Quentin’s back so they can prove they have Greinke’s back.