While it's still incredibly early in the 2013 season, the battle for National League playoff spots just got a bit more interesting.
Right-hander Zack Greinke, the Dodgers' $147 million man, fractured his left collarbone during a brawl last night, and might miss somewhere around the next two months. The injury happened after Greinke plunked Padres left fielder Carlos Quentin and Quentin charged the mound.
Greinke defended himself from Quentin by ramming his left shoulder into the 240-lb. outfielder as the two men met in front of the mound. That seemed like a smart move, as Greinke didn't throw any punches with his right (throwing) hand or put his right shoulder at risk. But now the former Cy Young award winner will be likely be lost until sometime in June, and his teammates are less than happy about it.
This obviously is a huge loss for the Dodgers, who have assembled an All-Star team, of sorts, by throwing money around like it's going out of style. They brought in Greinke to serve as a co-ace alongside Clayton Kershaw, and get just two starts out of Greinke before he'll head to the DL.
Bench-clearing brawls might excite fans, but they sometimes have nasty results, and we saw an example of that last night.
On a much lighter note, when Dan Haren was talking with reporters last night following the Nationals' 7-4 win over the White Sox the topic turned to the speed - or lack thereof - that he exhibited on the basepaths.
Haren ripped a double to right-center in the fourth inning and barely broke out of a jog on his way into second base. He topped out at the same speed when moving from second to third on Jayson Werth's single ("I probably wouldn't have scored on a double anyways," he joked) and then trotted home on a wild pitch.
"I'm not fast," Haren said with a smile, in the understatement of the year.
Haren then told reporters to go YouTube "Dan Haren slides." I did, and here's the tremendous clip that I found. Ignore the awful music.
Looks like the Nationals right-hander pulled the unintentional Rafael Soriano, untucking his jersey as he flopped onto second base.
We're only a week and a half into the season, but Haren has already shown that he's getting a bit more comfortable in D.C. He's exhibited a quick wit in talks with teammates and reporters and spent some of his time before yesterday's start sitting on couches in the clubhouse watching the Masters and chatting with Bryce Harper, Tyler Clippard and Ryan Mattheus.
While last night's outing still wasn't exactly what Haren would've hoped for (10 hits allowed and 101 pitches thrown through five innings is less than ideal), he picked up his first win as a National and feels he might be getting close to finding his groove.
"I haven't really shown everybody how good I can be," Haren said. "I actually feel really good, I feel better than I did at any point last year physically. I think the ball is coming out of my hand better than it was last year. It will get there."
After the Nats' sweep of the White Sox, they welcome the National League East rival Braves to town, a team that sports an impressive 8-1 record. The Nats are right behind them, at 7-2 on the young season.
This should be a really interesting series. These two teams are expected to duke it out all season for the NL East title, and we'll get our first look at how they'll match up starting tonight. Nats reliever Ryan Mattheus said last night that this series might set a bit of a tone for the rest of the season, but many Nats won't read too much into what happens over the next three days. It's just three more games, they say, and it's too early to start thinking big-picture.
"We get excited for every series," Ryan Zimmerman said. "I think we have to play the same way as we do against the Marlins, as we do against the Phillies, as we do against the Mets. As soon as you take other teams for granted or only get up when you play the Braves, or the Dodgers or teams like that, that's when you get in trouble. This team does such a good job of treating every team the same."