Good news and bad news coming out of the three-game series against the Padres.
The good news: The Dodgers took two of three to improve to 6-3 on the season.
The bad news: Things got very ugly on Thursday night when Zack Greinke suffered a broken collarbone after getting into a wrestling match with the Padres’ Carlos Quentin after Greinke hit him in the sixth inning. The Dodgers were up 2-1 and it was a full-count so it’s highly doubtful that Greinke would intentionally bean Quentin.
Nonetheless, Quentin charged the mound and each player dropped their shoulder, however, Quentin wound up on top and it was all over for Greinke as both teams’ benches and bullpens cleared. The fireworks weren’t over as Matt Kemp and Jerry Hairston, Jr. were each kicked out following the melee and Quentin and Kemp each had a shoving match in the Petco Park hallways after the game.
Greinke is likely out at least a month with his injury, and Quentin deserves at least a five-game suspension. Although the Dodgers leave San Diego as the classier of the two teams, the loss of Greinke is a tough one.
Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe led the Dodgers’ offense against San Diego. Gonzalez and Mark Ellis each have multi-game hitting streaks, A.J. Ellis hit his first home run of the season, and Luis Cruz bounced back after getting a couple of days off.
Adrian went 4-for-13 in the series, including his first home run of the season Thursday night to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. He also drove in a run on Tuesday night, and scored a pair of runs in the series. Gonzalez has hit safely in six straight games.
Mark Ellis went 4-for-15 in the series, including what would be a critical RBI in Wednesday night’s 4-3 victory.
Ellis has hit safely in seven straight games.
Luis Cruz returned to the lineup Wednesday after a two-day hiatus. After an 0-for-17 start to the season, Cruz went 3-for-9 with a run scored in the Padres series.
The biggest surprise of the week was the two home runs the Dodgers got from Juan Uribe. Starting at third base on Tuesday night Uribe went 1-for-3 drilling a two-run homer off of Padres starter Clayton Richard. Uribe would come in to pinch hit in the eighth inning Thursday night, and turned on the go-ahead solo shot off of Luke Gregerson.
This is shockingly amazing, and is probably Uribe’s best stretch as a Dodger. If Uribe can provide some occasional pop off the bench, he can finally be an asset to the team.
Carl Crawford continues to impress as the Dodgers’ lead-off man, Andre Ethier has quietly hit safely in every game so far this season, and Matt Kemp is on a little hit streak of his own, but none of them managed to drive in any runs in the series, as the team, except for Gonzalez, continues to struggle with men in scoring position.
Crawford continued on his path back to his all-star form going 5-for-13 in the series, scoring four runs, slugging his first home run as a Dodger, and his first triple as well.
Combined with some solid defense, Crawford is looking good.
A week-and-a-half into the season, and Crawford’s .424 batting average is leading the National League.
Andre Ethier went 4-for-11 in the series. He has hit safely in every game so far this season, and 11 straight dating back to 2012.
However, each of Andre’s hits was a single and he did not produce a single run.
Ditto for Matt Kemp, who went 4-for-13 in the series and extended his hit streak to four games. Kemp had a double in Tuesday’s 9-3 loss, but also failed to produce a run in the series. The Dodgers are hitting only .147 with runners in scoring position, second-worst in the majors. Only the Angels have a worse mark to start the season.
STARTING PITCHERS: B-
What a mixed bag for the Dodgers’ starting pitching.
Again, the good news: Chad Billingsley had a strong season debut, tossing six innings of one-run ball, striking out three and walking three en route to his first win of the year.
Billingsley was sharp and looks to be healthy and ready to go for 2013 after being derailed by an elbow ligament strain in 2012 and fingernail problems in Spring Training.
The Dodgers will need a healthy Billingsley to cope with the loss of Zack Greinke.
Oh yeah, the bad news: Zack Greinke has a broken collarbone.
Greinke had pitched five innings, and given up only one run, with four strikeouts and a walk, before getting his collarbone broken by Carlos Quentin‘s tackle after a hit by pitch. Greinke was well on his way to another solid start and possible win before being taken out, and will likely miss at least a month.
Greinke has given up only two runs in 11-1/3 innings of work this season with 10 Ks to only one walk.
Chris Capuano should step into the starting rotation for the time being. Josh Beckett had another rough outing, lasting only five innings, and giving up three earned runs, all via long balls surrendered to Will Venable and Nick Hundley.
Beckett kept the Dodgers in the game, however, avoiding the loss as the Dodgers bullpen imploded in the eighth inning. Beckett is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA to start the season, he will need to step it up in Greinke’s absence.
After giving up only one hit through the first six games of the season, the Dodgers’ bullpen finally revealed they are human.
Chris Capuano pitched a scoreless sixth inning on Tuesday night and pitched 1-2/3 scoreless innings of damage control, striking out three and walking one Thursday night after Greinke left the game after the brawl.
Belisario and Jansen each pitched scoreless innings, but League labored in the ninth, allowing two Padres runs on a Will Venable single and a passed-ball called strike-three, but wound up shutting the door and getting his third save of the season.
Four more Dodgers relievers came in to restore order in Thursday’s wild 3-2 win. Matt Guerrier got the win thanks to Uribe’s home run. Paco Rodriguez and Belisario pitched a scoreless eighth and Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first save of the season.
The Blue Crew heads to Phoenix for a weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Snakes are also 6-3 on the season. They just lost two of three games at home to the Pittsburgh Pirates, however, the D-Backs won the series finale 10-2.
Despite trading away Justin Upton this off-season, the D’Backs have scored the second-most runs in the National League to start the season, behind only the Cardinals. Clayton Kershaw will take the hill Friday night against second-year starter Patrick Corbin.