Daily Distractions: Clayton Kershaw’s changing repertoire; Chad Billingsley verdict coming soon.

Clayton KershawThe Dodgers are playing the Mets in New York tonight. Clayton Kershaw is pitching.

Before you breathe that every-five-days sigh of relief that comes with seeing number 22 on the mound, consider the changes to Kershaw’s repertoire since his masterful Opening Day performance.

That day, his curveball was working so well against the San Francisco Giants, he barely needed a fastball. Kershaw threw fastballs on 52.1 percent of his pitches, a ridiculously low percentage considering he threw 94 pitches over nine innings.

In every start since, Kershaw has thrown fewer curves as a percentage of his pitches — from 19.2 percent on Opening Day to 11.3, 9.9, and finally 7.6 percent last Wednesday against the Padres. Kershaw said he didn’t have any of his breaking pitches working well that night, when he allowed five runs (three earned) in 5 ⅓ innings.

Kershaw’s fastball has gotten slightly slower, too. It averaged 93 mph on Opening Day, then 92.3, 92.8 and 92.6 mph in his last three starts, sequentially.

Is his arm about to fall off? No. But as Kershaw relies more on his fastball and slider, the danger of arguably his most dangerous pitch, the curve, is reduced. Depending on how well his entire repertoire is keeping the Mets off-balance, he might not need it.

It’s something to keep an eye on tonight.

Some bullet points for a Tuesday morning:

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Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke is trying to learn from his mistakes — three of them, to be exact.

Zack Greinke Carlos Quentin

Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said he’s watched replays of last Thurdsay’s brawl in San Diego. (Associated Press)

Say this much for Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke: He’s trying to learn from his mistakes.

Mistake one: October 11, 2011. On the eve of the National League Championship Series between Greinke’s Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals, Greinke was asked about Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter.

“They think his presence, his attitude out there sometimes is like a phony attitude,” Greinke told reporters in Milwaukee. “And then he yells at people. He just stares people down and stuff. And most pitchers just don’t do that. And when guys do, I guess some hitters get mad. Some hitters do it to pitchers. But when you do that some people will get mad.

“There’s other pitchers in the league that do it, but, I don’t know,” Greinke said, “a lot of guys on our team don’t like Carpenter.”

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Despite appealing suspension, San Diego Padres’ Carlos Quentin might miss Dodgers series.

Major League Baseball is expediting Carlos Quentin’s appeal of his eight-game suspension and could rule on the matter today, according a report on the U-T San Diego website.

Writes Padres beat writer Bill Center:

If the appeal process isn’t completed there is also a strong chance that the left fielder will drop the appeal and begin his suspension Monday.

“Major League Baseball is very aware of the situation,” a source in the league office said Saturday. “I think everyone would like to see a little time between the incident and Quentin’s next appearance at Dodger Stadium.”

The Padres visit the Dodgers for three games beginning tomorrow.

Update (11:30 a.m.): Quentin is not in the Padres’ lineup today, will drop his appeal and begin the eight-game suspension immediately. That means he won’t play in the series at Dodger Stadium. The Padres’ next series in Los Angeles is June 3-5.

Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke broke his left collarbone in a benches-clearing brawl when Quentin charged the mound and tackled Greinke to the ground Thursday night at Petco Park. Greinke is expected to miss the next two months after undergoing successful surgery Saturday. Jerry Hairston Jr. was also suspended one game and fined for his role in the brawl, and has appealed the ruling with MLB.