9/18 Who’s the best 2B? Phillips says it’s him
Brandon Phillips, the reigning National League Gold Glove winner at second base, was unaware of Darwin Barney’s consecutive game error-less streak, which has reached a National League-record 132 games.
“Really? That’s cool, that’s nice,” Phillips said of Barney’s stretch, which long ago passed Ryne Sandberg’s NL record of 123 games.
“I’ve been too busy winning,” Phillips said. “I worry about myself and this team. If you don’t play for the Reds, I don’t worry about you.”
But Phillips, who has won the top defensive award three of the last four years, did help Barney in Spring Training, talking to the Cubs infielder about the position, and offering a few tips.
“I think they’re very different second basemen,” Dale Sveum said. “We all know how flashy Phillips is. To go along with the flash, he backs it up and does a great job at second base. Barney is more traditional, fundamental, not as flashy. He still gets the job done as well — as well as anybody has in a single season.”
These next three games, the two will go head to head. Keep an eye on them.
“Barney wants to show him, and [Phillips] wants to show he’s the reigning Gold Glove guy,” Sveum said. “That’s just part of competition and playing against the other guy at your position.”
Phillips had a streak of 85 error-less games this season, and entered Tuesday’s game with five errors in 134 games. Barney leads the National League in fielding percentage and has made one error in 142 games.
“The majority of my errors have been on plays that normally second basemen don’t get to,” Phillips said. “I don’t worry about that type of stuff. All I can do is go out and catch the ball and try to be the best second baseman I can be.
“Everybody knows I’m the best defensive second baseman,” he said. “I say errors don’t mean you’re a good defensive second baseman, it just means you get to the balls you get to. If I didn’t have any range, I wouldn’t make any errors the whole year.”
Sveum has made it clear Barney deserves the Gold Glove this year, saying the second baseman can change a game with a defensive play. He’ll get an argument from Phillips. The Reds second baseman thinks he’ll win another trophy.
“I feel like I should,” Phillips said. “I feel the Gold Glove is mine to stay until somebody beats me to it.”
— Carrie Muskat