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Crazy Carlos Quentin

As kids, we watched a lot of Westerns on television. Not infrequently our father would pass through the room, gaze at the TV where the cowboys and Indians were going at it, and say, "Those Indians are so mad, they're mad from another movie."

Apparently former Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin is mad from another league.

The Indians had every reason to be angry, both in those outlandish films and obviously in real life. I'm not so sure about Quentin.

After being hit with a pitch by Zack Greinke in the sixth inning of a 2-1 game last Thursday, Quentin, now playing for the Padres, charged the mound - a Wikipedia "vandal" called it a "psychopathic rampage" - leveling the Dodgers' $147 million man with a body block and breaking Greinke's collarbone.

Quentin's explanation: He has a "history" with Greinke and after being hit on the left shoulder on Thursday, Greinke's shouting at Carlos was the "last straw."

Unlike conferences on the mound today when pitchers put their gloves in front of their face so that no one can read their lips, Greinke's comments to Quentin were bare-faced. Yet only Carlos and maybe Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis know what Greinke said. My guess is that Greinke blurted a homophobic or ethnic slur or maybe he questioned Quentin's manhood. Whatever he said, no one is talking. Maybe the misused "in the best interest of baseball" has been invoked.

The history that Q referenced was recorded in 2008 to 2010 when Carlos played on the South Side and Greinke pitched for the Royals where, among other things, he won the Cy Young Award in 2009. During those three seasons, Greinke was a pedestrian 6-5 against the Sox with a 4.30 ERA. And Carlos went 6-for-24 against Greinke with three homers and 4 RBI. Twice Greinke hit Quentin with pitches. That's more of a draw than a straw.

Of course, at issue here is Quentin's contention that Greinke intentionally threw at Carlos. Just like he did three years ago.

And are we to ignore that Greinke hits an average of six batters a season while Quentin has been hit 95 times the past five seasons? He led the American League in 2011, getting hit 23 times, and last year - despite playing in just 86 games because of injury - he was tops in the National League with 17.

Sox fans are well-aware of the way Quentin would crowd the plate and make little or no attempt to evade an inside pitch. A guy like Alexei Ramirez, for example, looks more like a Joffrey dancer than a ballplayer on any pitch that invades his personal space.

Quentin never gives an inch. The delivery that hit him last week was typical. He made no attempt to escape the 3-2 pitch.

Paul Konerko, who as far as I can tell is the only one supporting his former teammate, has been hit no more than 10 times in a season, and this is a guy who has 424 career home runs. Paulie may not be too agile on the bases, but he's not too shabby at dodging close pitches.

Konerko claims that while Greinke actually hit Quentin just twice when Quentin was with the Sox, Greinke tended to throw in the vicinity of Sox players' heads.

"Stupid" was most often applied to Quentin's violent charge to the mound. Dodger manager Don Mattingly thinks Carlos should sit out until Greinke is able to pitch again, and LA centerfielder Matt Kemp questioned how a Stanford guy like Quentin could be so dumb. Of course, Kemp wasn't displaying much of an IQ when he confronted Q under the Petco Park stands an hour after the game ended. The duo needed to be separated by teammates.

A few of those Padre teammates anonymously also questioned Quentin's attack on Greinke.

Quentin's behavior last week wasn't the first time he's visited the bizarre. Who can forget 2008 when he was in the MVP conversation until, in a fit of frustration, he smashed his hand against his bat after striking out? The result was a broken wrist, sidelining the Sox's best hitter the rest of the season including the 3-1 playoff loss to Tampa Bay.

So Carlos Quentin has been suspended for the next eight games, beginning with tonight's series opener at Dodger Stadium.

However, the Padres will be back in Los Angeles in June, and his reception will be less than cordial.

Sox Summary
The Quentin-Greinke confrontation was a timely diversion from the first road trip of the season for the White Sox. After looking lively and capable in winning the first two series at home, five straight losses opened the road schedule until Jake Peavy stopped the Indians yesterday, using homers from Konerko and Alejandro DeAza to beat the Indians 3-1.

After 12 games, here's how things look for the Sox:

The Good

* Alex Rios has continued where he left off in 2012, hitting .362 with four home runs.

* Newcomer Conor Gillaspie, a virtual unknown, came over from the Giants and is leading the team with a .444 average while playing a decent third base.

* Peavy has had two good starts in three outings, and Jose Quintana bounced back on Saturday to shut out Cleveland for seven innings on one hit. Peavy and Quintana recorded 18 strikeouts without walking anyone over the weekend.

* Closer Addison Reed has been near-perfect, having saved four games in as many opportunities and giving up a lone hit in six innings. Veteran Matt Lindstrom looks like a solid addition to the bullpen. Over his first six innings, he has allowed just three hits and no runs.

The Bad

* Adam Dunn, batting fourth, is hitting .136 and has fanned 15 times in 11 games while walking just twice. So far Dunn is most responsible for a team that averages just 3 1/2 runs a game.

See also: Adam Dunn's Failed Experiment.

* After hitting a game-winning homer on Opening Day, catcher Tyler Flowers has just five more hits, and he's struck out as often as Dunn.

* Dayan Viciedo swings at everything and misses most of the time. He's fanned 13 times. The Tank's walk-off home run a week ago to beat the Mariners was nice, but since then he sat the bench for two games in Washington before going oh-for-Cleveland.

* Dylan Axelrod got lit up in Washington for six runs in less than four innings after being impressive in his first start. Meanwhile, John Danks is working toward throwing a fastball in the 90s. He's not there yet.

The Ugly:

* Gordon Beckham's broken wrist will sideline him until June. Beckham was off to a good start and seemed much more comfortable and confident at the plate. His defense will be missed.

* Chris Sale couldn't finish the fifth inning on Saturday, giving up eight runs, including a grand slam to Mark Reynolds.

* The Sox have made nine errors in their first 12 games. At that pace, they'll have 121 by season's end. Last year they committed 70.


Roger Wallenstein is our man on the White Sox beat. He welcomes your comments.


1. From Steve Corman:

Ah, Carlos Quentin. What a total, colossal jerk he's become in such a short time.

I first heard about him as a phenom at Uni High School in San Diego; then as he breezed through Stanford in three years and starred on the Cardinal baseball team.

When the White Sox acquired him from Arizona, I was thrilled and loved the way he hit the cover off the ball. But after costing himself the MVP award, followed by other bouts of stupidity, I was just as glad our boys traded him.

And I've heard nothing good about him from San Diego friends and contacts. I think his career will continue to head straight south from this point in time.

As for our assortment of alleged players, I became very concerned over the horseshit way they played over the final 2 1/2 weeks of spring training and it's basically continued.

I've never seen a team with not two (that's bad enough) but three players very likely to strike out. Dunn, Viciedo and Flowers are the terrible trio and I don't see that changing.

This team desperately needs at least two firestarters very quickly to make things happen.

I hope they give serious thought to bringing up Jared Mitchell and letting him play - either center or left.

And where are the supposed can't-miss pitchers they acquired, namely Simon Castro (for Quentin) and Nestor Molina (for Santos)?

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