Many eyes will be on Tuesday afternoon’s matchup when Ian Kennedy takes the mound to face the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke. This will be their first matchup since the epic “Summerslam” brawl in June of 2013, a brawl that perhaps turned the whole Dodger 2013 season around, when Kennedy wore a Diamondbacks jersey. The game resulted in a 10 game suspension for Kennedy, as well as various other suspensions and league wide criticism regarding charging the mound and retaliation tactics in pitching.
Let’s be fair, though. Most of us wouldn’t really MIND a brawl. Baseball players have vivid memories & hold grudges. Especially pitchers. Kennedy pitches for yet another heated rival of the Dodgers (one of which L.A. has also engaged in fisticuffs in 2013), it makes for good theater. Outside of Colorado, there just seems to be a growing beef among NL West California teams and the Dodgers….and it’s fun for front page purposes.
(Un)Fortunately, we will get no fireworks likely this early in the season. Kennedy has some kinks to work out in his pitching after a pretty awful spring start. And, Greinke will likely be motivated to pitch a gem of a game after witnessing Hyun-Jin Ryu throw a marvelous game Sunday night. Effectively backing up his claim that he is 100% healthy. This will leave little to no room for shenanigans.
Kennedy has ignored being baited into feeding into the trip down memory lane as well. Currently with the idea that he’s competing for his job, he’s focused on getting off to a good start in his 2014 campaign. As he should as he comes out of spring training with a 6.44 E.R.A.
Both teams are beginning the season with a few nagging injuries to key players. For the Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw is on the 15-day DL with an inflamed back muscle with Josh Beckett out with a thumb contusion. Meanwhile, Matt Kemp & Chad Billingsley are recovering from off-season surgeries. On the other side, San Diego’s Carlos Quentin is day-to-day with left knee soreness, and Josh Johnson has a strained flexor, right forearm. This early in the season both teams really just want to play progressive baseball and come out of the series healthy without further injuries.
So…no funny business. We’ll just have to use our imagination until June perhaps.