Credit Don Mattingly for his honesty.
Talking about the Dodgers’ series against San Diego, which starts today, the skipper said that his team will not be looking for retaliation regarding Zack Greinke’s broken collarbone. Then again, Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin will be elsewhere, having dropped his appeal of the eight-game suspension handed down for his role in the matter. One of Mattingly’s pitchers could make a perfunctory statement by drilling a random Padre (in Los Angeles, on Jackie Robinson day, no less), or they could wait until the teams meet later in the season and send a message directly to its intended target.
Which is precisely what Mattingly hinted might happen.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Asked if he expected the Dodgers to level the score down the road, Mattingly replied, “We’ll just play baseball. We’ll see how the games go. You’ll see.”
“No, I mean, you can make decisions then,” Mattingly said. “I’m not going to sit here and talk hypotheticals like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to get him back.’ That’s not something you would talk about even if that was part of the deal. You never talk about that.
“We’re trying to win games and trying to win a pennant. Getting retaliation on something is different than protecting your guys.”
Besides, said catcher A.J. Ellis, “Our problem is with one guy, not with their team.”
The reality is that umpires will likely begin today’s series by warning both benches, preventing Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley from going after Padres hitters even if he wanted to, which he insisted he did not.
Billingsley, it should be pointed out, has been criticized in the past for failing to protect his teammates—specifically during the 2008 NLCS, after Philadelphia’s Brett Myers repeatedly came inside on Dodgers hitters.
He likely won’t have to worry about such a reputation following him regardless of what happens Monday. Once the guy the Dodgers want to see is in the lineup, the countdown will begin.