Cincinnati Reds: Amir Garrett needs to let his pitching to the talking

May 1, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson (37) and relief pitcher Sal Romano (47) hold back relief pitcher Amir Garrett. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
May 1, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson (37) and relief pitcher Sal Romano (47) hold back relief pitcher Amir Garrett. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports /

This is sure to be unpopular, and I’m not condoning Javier Baez’s actions. In fact, Baez should have been ejected, and perhaps a suspension is forthcoming. That said, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Amir Garrett needs to stop running his mouth and let his pitching do the talking.

In case you missed it, Heath Hembree entered in the seventh inning and pitched to Baez to begin the eighth. Hembree retired the Chicago Cubs shortstop on strikes, and David Bell made the move to bring in Garrett to face the left-handed hitting Anthony Rizzo. What happened next was, unfortunately, to be expected.

Reds reliever Amir Garrett has bigger problems than jawing with the Cubs.

Garrett toed the rubber and made quick work of Rizzo. After two called strikes and foul tip, Rizzo took a ball down and away. Garrett came right back and got Rizzo to swing and miss at his slider. It was good to see Garrett gain some measure of redemption after the first month of the season saw AG post a 12.27 ERA.

After Rizzo went down swinging, Garrett celebrated his punch out and chose to exchange words with Rizzo and then directed his attention toward the Cubs’ dugout. Now, we don’t know what was said, and most of it certainly does not bear repeating.

Eventually, Javier Baez jumped out of the dugout onto the field, the benches emptied, and after a few moments of barking between both teams, order was restored. Garrett then induced a fly ball out of David Bote to end the inning.

This isn’t the first incident between the trio of Garrett, Rizzo, and Baez. To be honest, I highly doubt this is the last time we see such fireworks on the field. However, Amir Garrett’s actions started thee fracas and he’s got bigger things to worry about than recording a single strikeout versus a player who’s hitting just .231 on the season.

Amir Garrett needs to focus on pitching and stop inciting the Reds opponents.

Let’s be honest, this is not Amir Garrett’s first foray into extracurricular activities. This is the same Amir Garrett who charged an entire Pittsburgh Pirates dugout back in 2019. He received a hefty suspension for those actions as well.

I’m not against players like Garrett showing emotion. I get it, it’s an emotional game. We saw Nick Castellanos flex in the face of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jake Woodford after scoring a run during the first week of the season. Bat flips are the name of the game, and there’s an increased focus on showing up your opponent and allowing your emotions to run free.

But, if you’re going to bring that kind of exuberance to the game, be sure you can back it up. Garrett was sporting a 12.27 ERA heading into today’s game. He had seven walks to just four strikeouts over 7.1 innings of work. Today’s punch out of Rizzo now gives him five through eight innings.

Garrett spent the entire offseason telling anyone who would listen that he’s going to be the closer. Garrett is 2-for-4 in save situations, and David Bell has quickly abandoned the idea of using Garrett in high-leverage situations this season.

Amir Garrett is a talented pitcher and the Cincinnati Reds need him at his best in order to be competitive in the National League Central this season. While I know that Garrett is an emotional player, he needs to learn how to keep those emotions in check.

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Had Garrett struck out side in the top of the ninth inning, preserving a one-run victory over a division rival, by all means, celebrate your success. But his reaction to striking out Anthony Rizzo while her still had one more out to go in the eight inning of a game in which they were trailing; C’mon, that’s not cause for celebration.