Phillips benefiting from Votto's presence

Phillips benefiting from Votto's presence

CINCINNATI -- Some see it as frustrating. Others take it as a sign of respect.

Regardless of how Joey Votto views his league-leading 10 intentional walks, it's an act the two-time All-Star and former National League Most Valuable Player should get used to.

While Votto's 76 hits, 27 doubles, 11 homers, 41 RBIs and .362 batting average catch most of the attention, his MLB-leading 50 walks and .483 on-base percentage often set the table for the next man in line: second baseman Brandon Phillips.

For the majority of last season and the beginning of this season, Phillips hit either leadoff or second, before being moved to the four-spot full time on April 18 against St. Louis.

Phillips struggled in the early season before being moved to fourth, batting right at .200 through the first seven games.

In 48 games since his move, Phillips has amassed 55 hits, eight doubles, seven homers, 34 RBIs, and is batting .296 with a .345 on-base percentage.

"I've been struggling when I have runners in scoring position since moving to the fourth spot," said Phillips, who drove in three runs in Wednesday night's 5-3 win over the Indians. "There's always room for improvement. I try to do the best I can do from the four-hole, try to protect Joey Votto as much as possible. When you get clutch hits like that, positive things happen. That's why we won the game [Wednesday]."

Manager Dusty Baker said he's been happy with Phillips' production batting cleanup and hopes the rest of the order can get going on all cylinders.

"[Votto] can't be a one-man team, and we're not," Baker said. "He's big in the equation, but we certainly have got to get some other guys going. It's good to see Brandon swinging the bat well again. He had some RBIs and if we can get him going, we can really get something with Joey if he continues doing what he's doing."