National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, April 15th
(All times Eastern)
San Diego Padres (2-10) at Los Angeles Dodgers (7-5), 10:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: San Diego - Eric Stults (1-1, 3.60)
Los Angeles - Chad Billingsley (1-0, 1.50)
(Sports Network) - Emotions should be running high at Dodger Stadium on Monday
when the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres open a three-game set, just
days after their wild brawl.
Prior to the game, though, nobody will be thinking about what transpired last
week, as Chavez Ravine will commemorate the 66th anniversary of Jackie
Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier with an onfield celebration that
will include Robinson's widow, Rachel, as well as other Major League Baseball
and Dodgers dignitaries.
"Jackie Robinson running onto Ebbets Field is not only the most important and
powerful moment in Baseball history, but it also changed the course of
American history," said MLB commissioner Bud Selig. "Jackie's courage and
perseverance made it possible for African Americans and players of all races
and ethnicities to compete on the same field."
However, the good feelings will likely end once the game begins.
It was last Thursday when Dodgers' righty Zack Greinke hit Carlos Quentin with
a pitch in the sixth inning of Los Angeles' 3-2 win. Quentin, who has been
plunked more times than anyone per at-bat in the history of baseball,
proceeded to charge the mound, triggering a wild melee that left Greinke with
a broken left collarbone.
Greinke needed surgery to repair the fracture and will be sidelined at least
two months, while Quentin was handed an eight-game suspension. Quentin had
planned to appeal the ban, but dropped it on Sunday and won't be in uniform
for this series.
"He should not play a game until Greinke can pitch," Dodgers manager Don
Mattingly said about Quentin. "If he plays before Greinke pitches, something
is wrong. Their guy charges the mound being an idiot and our guy is going to
be out for however long and their guy is probably going to be playing in three
days. It's a joke."
The bad blood boiled over into the parking lot after the game, as Matt Kemp
confronted Quentin and had the two had to be restrained as the Dodgers were
about to board the team bus.
"It's very difficult," Quentin said. "It's unfortunate that someone got hurt
in this instance. But I do believe that I had to protect myself, and I will
stand by that statement and at the same time I will begin my suspension."
Getting the call for the Dodgers in Monday's opener will be righty Chad
Billingsley, who was impressive his first time out on Wednesday against the
Padres. Billingsley showed no ill effects from the elbow injury that cut his
season short a year ago or the finger ailment that forced him to start this
year on the disabled list, as he surrendered a run and five hits in six
"It definitely feels great to be back out there," said Billingsley. "I was
pitching with my fastball and had good command, a good changeup and a good
curveball. I made big pitches when I needed to and got a double play to help
Billingsly has faced the Padres 27 times (23 starts) and is 13-8 against them
with a 2.58 ERA.
"I've still got to go out and pitch. Commanding the inside part of the plate,
you can't be one-dimensional," Billingsley said. "If they issue a warning and
a ball gets away and you hit a guy, hopefully the umpires know it's not on
purpose. It could be a two-seamer or a breaking ball that slips. You've still
got to be able to pitch inside in this game."
Opposing him for the second time in less than a week on Monday will be lefty
Eric Stults, who is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA. After tossing five scoreless innings
to win his first start, Stults allowed four runs and eight hits in five
innings in a loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday.
"It was a battle," said Stults, who needed 101 pitches to get through five
innings. "Early on, I got hurt on a couple of pitches I left up. But they're a
good hitting team."
He's 0-1 in two starts versus the Dodgers with a 4.09 ERA.
"Honestly, I would be surprised if there's a carryover," San Diego manager Bud
Black said. "That's my own personal opinion. Awareness is heightened on
previous incidents, and both teams were talked to about the ramifications of
further incidents. It truly will be baseball first."
Los Angeles took two of three from the Padres last week after winning last
year's season series, 11-7.
04/15 10:23:59 ET