Reds Pitcher Says He Didnt Throw at Rizzos Head on Purpose, But Says the Cubs “Chirp” the Most –

Anthony Rizzo’s crime was homering twice off of the Reds’ ostensible new ace, Trevor Bauer, and being the face of the Cubs when a young pitcher wants to make a statement.

For that, he got one thrown over his head in the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader, and the comments from the young Reds pitcher who did the chucking don’t change my mind. Tejay Antone may not have meant to throw at Rizzo’s head, specifically, but it was a purpose pitch:

Turns out there was a lot going on before that pitch, and then obviously after. So let’s try to walk through this stuff.

As you saw, David Ross came out to express his frustration about what had just happened on the Antone pitch, and question why warnings were issued rather than Antone getting ejected – which wound up getting Ross, himself ejected.

That, in turn, led to words between the teams when the Cubs next took the field and a pitch went high against Shogo Akiyama (high, but over the plate), and the benches cleared:

Joey Votto and Jesse Winker were the first two out, so they got the immediate boot, and Reds manager David Bell got it shortly thereafter. Back to that in a moment, but first, the pitch that set the chain into motion.

“It just looked like the young man on the mound was trying to send a message to one of our best players, throwing behind him or over his head or at his head, however you want to look at it,” Ross said after the game, per “And then in the inning before, kind of staring in and saying some things. It just looked like he was trying to send a message to a guy that was having a really good day, and maybe trying to make him uncomfortable.”

“It’s just a scary situation,” Rizzo said of the pitch, per “We’ve played against the Reds a long time and they do like to move my feet. It’s just part of their reports – it’s been for years. I don’t think any pitcher would purposefully throw at someone’s head. I give the benefit of the doubt to every pitcher, especially Antone. He’s a rookie. He’s been throwing really well. The pitch inside was definitely for a purpose. It’s just, it’s at the head and that’s scary stuff.”

Antone tried to explain the pitch away, but then also took shots at the Cubs in the process. Turns out he was perturbed with the Cubs even before the pitch to Rizzo.

“My ball was running a little bit more today, which isn’t a problem. It happens sometimes,” Antone said. “I adjusted my aiming spot a little bit more towards him so it would run to the inside part of the plate like a front-hip four-seamer. I let it rip and it just went up. It stayed true on that one. It is what it is. … I know a lot of people are saying it was intentional — it wasn’t …. The second inning, they were chirping at me for grunting on a few fastballs. So after the inning, I gave them another grunt. Just part of the game. You chirp back and forth. It was all fun and games, especially now that we can hear everyone very clear. There are no fans to bleed out some of that chirping. They were chirping at me, kind of giving me some girly grunts. So I gave them a grunt back and let them know I’m here to strike people out.”

Is it better to chirp when you are ahead? Nonsense. Whatever.

So how did this all go down? By my count, you had the Cubs chirping at Antone in the dugout, which he can hear clearly because of the lack of fans. Then you had Antone grunting back at them, and then throwing at Rizzo’s head. Ross gets ejected because he believes it was clearly intentionally. Then you had a pitch go high against Shogo Akiyama (but over the plate – it was just high), which got Bell and the Reds shouting. Rizzo responded at first base. Then Joey Votto and Jesse Winker came out, clearing the benches, and getting themselves (and Bell) booted.

Maybe you can criticize the Cubs for the initial “chirping,” but that’s pretty mild compared to a pitch thrown at a head and guys coming out onto the field in the pandemic season. Reds didn’t come off looking like angels in this one.

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