CINCINNATI -- When Amir Garrett is doing well, the Reds reliever likes to let his opponents know with a lot of animated talk. The Cubs have known this for a while and, well, they don’t really like that.
In the eighth inning of a 3-2 Cubs win at Great American Ball Park, Garrett and Chicago's dugout got into a verbal altercation that resulted in the benches clearing.
The lefty Garrett was brought in to face the left-handed-hitting Anthony Rizzo with one out, and he struck him out swinging on a slider.
Garrett started yelling and pounding his chest, and Rizzo shot him a look as he returned to the Cubs' dugout. At that point, Javier Báez started yelling from the top step at Garrett, before leaping the railing and verbally challenging the pitcher.
Both benches cleared.
“He’s got a style. We all get that,” Báez said. “But I’m just not going let him or anyone disrespect my teammates or my team. It was not a big situation, you know? I’m going to try to stay professional with this, but … it doesn’t matter who does it in the game -- if someone else does it again, we’ll go out there again.”
As players spilled out on to the field from the dugouts and bullpens, Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson headed off Garrett and a few players got in front of Báez -- including Reds third baseman Mike Moustakas.
“I think Garrett’s a guy that’s an emotional guy,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “He hasn’t had the greatest start to the season and he gets a strikeout there against Anthony and he just starts screaming and raging. I just think that’s his character. I think we’ve seen that. I think that’s just him trying to fire himself up because he’s not throwing well now. He did a good job against us, got us out when he had to. I see a guy that just wants to instigate something, whatever.”
Order was restored without any punches. No ejections were levied. The Reds did not make Garrett available for comment after the game.
“I know that Amir, he’s been struggling,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He’s working hard, trying to get himself back to where he knows he’s going to be. He struck a guy out. I just know it’s an emotional game. It takes everything you have. From my standpoint, I saw Amir speaking to himself. I may be wrong. I thought it was Amir showing excitement and it was directed at himself. He was excited. He’s been working to get back to that point. But I don’t know how it was interpreted by the Cubs. Obviously, it could have been taken another way.”
In 10 appearances this season, Garrett has an 11.25 ERA. He now has back-to-back scoreless outings. After Rizzo struck out on Saturday, he got David Bote to fly out to right field.
This isn’t the first time Garrett and Báez locked horns. Garrett celebrated a strikeout on him, too, on May 19, 2018, and the two had words before both benches also cleared.
“I don’t know what he’s got against Rizzo,” Báez said. “He did it to me in the past. I like what he does, he’s just got to do it to his team, not to us. Not after a strikeout. I hit three homers against him and I didn’t do anything to show him up, or his team.”