Starting after the very first pitch of the Cubs' 5-4 win over the Reds on Sunday, Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto was frustrated by Chicago leadoff man David DeJesus stepping out of the batters box, something DeJesus does after every pitch. Cueto, trying to establish a rhythm and his typical quick pace, was demonstrably upset during DeJesus' at-bats in the first and fourth inning, but he didn't do anything about it until the sixth inning, when he fired an 0-1 pitch over DeJesus' head at 91 miles per hour.
The pitch seemed more like a warning than an actual attempt to hit DeJesus; it was way over his head and hit the net behind home plate on the fly. Nonetheless, Home plate umpire Bob Davidson correctly warned both benches. Opposing starter Matt Garza, who was already out of the game by that point, having given up four runs in four innings and burned through 92 pitches, issued his own warnings to Cueto in a long rant after the game. Among other things Garza said, " If he has something to say about it, he knows where to find my locker, and I'll definitely find his," and " I don't know what the deal is between him and [DeJesus], but he needs to cut it out, because I'll stop it. I'll stop it. And that's just the way it goes. He wants to do it like that, so be it."
Here, from MLB.com, are the rest of Garza's comments (with some editing for language):
"Cueto should learn, you don't go after guy's heads. Don't wake a sleeping dog. I think that's kind of immature on his part and totally uncalled for. He's lucky that retaliation isn't in our vocabulary. You play each game like it's a new one. That's [nonsense] on his part -- just total immaturity. If he has something to say about it, he knows where to find my locker, and I'll definitely find his.
"I took total disrespect out of that. [DeJesus] has never done anything wrong. He just plays the game the right way. If Cueto has any problem, he can throw at me, and I'll definitely return the favor. I didn't like that one bit. We don't retaliate. We take it game by game. Hopefully, he learns to grow the [heck] up. That's totally uncalled for.
"I hope he hears this, because I really don't care. If we want to retaliate, we could've and lost a bullpen guy but we don't need that. We play the game the right way. We'll take our lumps when we take them and hand them out when we hand them out. I think we responded well to the warning and just play the game well.
"I just didn't like what he did. I don't know what happened, but the guy is an always down-in-the-zone guy and he threw into the arm-side-away box and that takes effort. As a pitcher, that takes a lot of effort. I don't know what the deal is between him and [DeJesus], but he needs to cut it out, because I'll stop it. I'll stop it. And that's just the way it goes. He wants to do it like that, so be it."
"If the game was played that way, I don't like it like that. You don't go intently and try to injure somebody. Hopefully, the league looks at that. I don't want him to get suspended or anything. I just want him to learn a lesson. Hopefully, his players will warn him. It is what it is -- they run their own show. We'll see him again down the line."
The Cubs and Reds will next meet in two weeks for a four-game set at Wrigley Field from June 10 to 13. Cueto is currently projected to pitch the second game of that series on Tuesday afternoon, though if the Cubs stay on rotation, Garza won't pitch until the following game because the Cubs have an additional off-day in the interim.