By HAL McCOY
The Cincinnati Reds keep talking about their rebuilding program, keep telling fans to be patient, but they lost their own patience with pitching coach Mark Riggins Monday.
They gave Riggins a Triple-A pitching staff and fired him when the inexperienced staff pitched like a Triple-A staff. It is a staff that leads the league in home runs given up, walks given up and the league has the second highest batting average against the Reds.
Patience? Is it a one-way street.
THEN, OF COURSE, THE Reds went out Monday afternoon and the pitchers stunk up Wrigley Field.
And it looks as if they are going to have to have a ton of patience with young pitcher Cody Reed, who took another bloody beating during a 10-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Reed lasted only four innings and gave up eight runs (four earned), five hits, three walks, two hit batters and two home runs.
Let’s add them up and see what we have from Reed. In four starts he is 0-and-3 with a 9.00 earned run average. He has pitched 20 innings and given up 20 earned runs and 29 hits, eight of them home runs.
Patience, patience, patience. Do they keep sending him out there and perhaps destroy his confidence or do they send him back to Class AAA Louisville and hope he regains some semblance of pitching efficiency?
Josh Smith followed Reed and in 1 2/3 innings he gave up two runs, three hits, a home run and two walks.
IF THERE WAS ANY time the Reds could have taken advantage of the Cubs it was Monday. The Cubs just lost four straight to the New York Mets, 14-3, in the last game Sunday, and were outscored in the four games, 32-11.
They had lost 10 of their last 14, but. . .three of the four wins the Cubs owned came during a three-game sweep in Cincinnati last week.
Reed gave up three runs in the first inning and has given up nine runs in the first inning during his last three starts.
He had two outs and a runner of first when he hit Wilson Contreras with a pitch. Addison Russell singled to left on the first pitch to score a run for a 1-0 Cubs lead. Jason Heyward then drove a two-run double to left center for a 3-0 lead.
Reed gave up three more in the second, a rally ignited when Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips booted a routine one-out ground ball for his 10th error of the season.
On the first pitch after the error Kris Bryant crushed a home run into the left field bleachers on a 93 miles an hour down-the-middle fastball to make it 5-0.
BRYANT, WHO HAD THREE homers and two doubles in a game last week against the Reds, now has eight homers this season against the Reds and he leads the National League with 24 home runs.
One out later Wilson Contreras homered to push Chicago’s lead to 6-0.
Reed pitched a 1-2-3 third against the bottom of the order, but he loaded the bases in the fourth on a walk, a single and a hit batsman. Then third baseman Eugenio Suarez botched a ground ball for an error that let in two runs and the deficit for the Reds was 8-0.
The Reds finally scored a run in the sixth on Adam Duvall’s sacrifice fly, scoring Joey Votto from third. Votto had a walk and two singles in his first three plate appearances.
The Cubs, though, quickly scored two more off Josh Smith in the bottom of the sixth on Anthony Rizzo’s single and a home run down the left field line by Addison Russell to make it 10-1.
THE REDS SCORED THREE in the seventh on back-to-back home runs off relief pitcher Travis Wood, a two-run shot by Zack Cozart followed by a home run by Eugenio Suarez.
It was far too little and far too late.
So the Reds are 1-and-13 in their last 14 against the Cubs. And on Monday they had only four hits, two by Joey Votto, through six innings.
Should hitting coach Don Long be looking over his shoulder?