Garza faces the Reds on Tuesday night for the first time since his angry comments toward Cueto following the Chicago Cubs’ victory in last month’s series finale in Cincinnati.
Garza took exception when Cueto threw a pitch over the head of David DeJesus with a four-run lead in the sixth inning May 26. Cubs manager Dale Sveum thought the high pitch, which drew a warning from plate umpire Bob Davidson, was a response to DeJesus taking his time to get in the batter’s box.
Chicago went on to rally for a 5-4, 10-inning win that snapped a six-game losing streak to the Reds (38-26).
“I took total disrespect out of that,” Garza told the league’s official website. “(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.”
Cueto would have been scheduled to start this game, but he won’t get the chance to throw at anyone because he landed on the disabled list last week with a strained right shoulder. Reds manager Dusty Baker suggested after the incident that the pair fight it out, though he now insists it’s “over.”
“I think Johnny got fined for it,” Baker said. “So, all we can do is play ball. And whoever wants to do something, it’s their prerogative if they want to.”
Garza (1-0, 4.03 ERA), though, may be more interested in beating Baker’s club after allowing four runs over four innings in that outing. He’s 1-2 with a 4.55 ERA in five career starts against the Reds.
This time, Garza hopes to help end Cincinnati’s franchise-best 10-game winning streak at Wrigley. He’s 6-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last 11 starts there.
Brandon Phillips who entered Monday batting .161 versus Chicago (25-36) this season, hit a grand slam and matched a career high with six RBIs in a 6-2 victory.
Joey Votto is 14 for 26 with seven doubles and six RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak at Wrigley, though he’s 3 for 13 versus Garza.
Tony Cingrani (2-0, 3.27), a left-hander from Evergreen Park, Ill., will take the place of the injured Cueto and make his third start against the Cubs this year. He allowed six runs and eight hits in 13 innings in the first two, not getting a decision either time.
Since going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his first three starts of the season, Cingrani has a 5.40 ERA in the last three while allowing five home runs.
Alfonso Soriano is 4 for 6 with two homers against Cingrani, and he’s batting .324 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in this season series.
Cody Ransom who also has a home run against Cingrani, has three homers in his last five games overall.
The Cubs, however, have batted .202 while dropping six of eight.