Jackie Robinson festivities highlight Dodgers, Padres opener
(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, though, 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, his daughter, Sharon, as well as other Major League Baseball and Dodgers dignitaries.
All players and on-field personnel will also once again wear the Hall of Famer's No. 42.
"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.
"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."
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.
"There have been many different ideas, thoughts and concerns put out there," Quentin said. "I will say this about the Dodgers series -- I will obviously miss this one, but I will be part of the rest of them. We play them many times."
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 innings.
"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 me out."
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 09:50:59 ET