McCoy: Reds blanked by first-place Cubs

Cincinnati Reds' Shogo Akiyama watches his fly out during the ninth inning of the team's baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Chicago. The cubs won 3-0. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Cincinnati Reds' Shogo Akiyama watches his fly out during the ninth inning of the team's baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Chicago. The cubs won 3-0. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

“We know we’re better than this. We Just can’t prove it.” — Tony Gwynn.

What Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn once said about his San Diego Padres certainly applies to the 2020 Cincinnat Reds.

To a man, the Reds believe the are better than this, but haven’t come close to proving it. They are the leaders in the clubhouse for the 2020 Underachievement Trophy.

It is as if the 2019 calendar still hangs in the Reds' clubhouse. Or 2018. Or 2017. Or 2016. No offense, no clutch-hitting.

With another loss Tuesday night, 3-0 to the division-leading Chicago Cubs, the Reds are 18-24. And with only 18 games remaining the team’s chances of making the playoffs are as thin as a dollar bill.

Even though time is of the essence and there needs to be a sense of urgency, Reds manager David Bell continues to say that his team is trying hard, working hard, doing everything they can.

“We continue to play, we continue to compete,” he said. “This team cares tremendously about going out and doing everything they can to win. That’s all we can do.”

Everything they can right now is nothing.

On Tuesday, the Reds were frustrated by a pitcher, Alec Mills, whose fastball topped out at 90 mph, a pitcher who had given up 21 earned runs in his last 24 2/3 innings, a pitcher whose team had last four of his last five starts.

But Mills and his well-placed assortment of off-speed stuff, held the Reds to no runs and four hits over six innings. With his quality start, the Cubs are 20-1 when their starting pitcher gives up three or less runs over six or more innings.

With the wind blowing straight in at 25 miles an hour in Wrigley Field, the Reds home run-or-nothing offense was negated.

The best they could do was draw five walks, but two double plays put down any threat.

Reds starter Tyler Mahle also gave up only four hits in seven innings and struck out 10, but was victimized by a leaky defense and a pair of two-out triples.

The Cubs scored two in the second. The rally began with a one-out walk to Kyle Schwarber. Willson Contreras grounded one up the middle. Shortstop Jose Garcia tried to slap the ball with his glove to second base. Didn’t work and it went as an infield hit.

With two outs, David Bote drove on to right field that Nick Castellanos misplayed, spinning in a circle as the ball whistled over his head for a two-run triple.

“The wind. . .no doubt,” Bell said of Castellanos' trouble tracking Bote’s triple. "That’s a tough play for an outfielder, a hard-hit ball, a line drive hit right at the outfielder and it was kinda tailing away from him.

“The wind was a factor, just a tough play. You make one wrong reaction and before you know it that ball is over your head,” Bell added.

They scored another run in the third when Mahle hit Kris Bryant with a pitch and with two outs Javier Baez tripled into the right field corner to make it 3-0.

From the fourth through the ninth, neither team put together any kind of a scoring threat.

Pinch-hitter Brian Goodwin singled with one out in the ninth against Jeremy Jeffress. But Shogo Akiyama, who had two of the Reds five hits, flied to left and pinch-hitter Freddie Galvis grounded into a game-ending fielder’s choice.