Phillips, Barney put defensive rivalry on display

Phillips, Barney put defensive rivalry on display

CHICAGO -- Brandon Phillips, the reigning National League Gold Glove winner at second base, was unaware of Darwin Barney's consecutive-game errorless streak, which reached a National League-record 133 games after the Reds' 3-1 win over the Cubs on Tuesday.

"Really? That's cool, that's nice," Phillips said of Barney's stretch, which long ago passed Ryne Sandberg's previous 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," Cubs manager 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 errorless games this season, and entered Tuesday's game with five errors in 134 games. Barney led the National League in fielding percentage and had 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. 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."

Wrigley Field's infield can be rough on players, and Phillips acknowledged it's a tough place to play.

"This is a good infield when it wants to be," Phillips said. "It just depends on whether the grounds crew waters it or not. It really depends on the day."

Sveum agrees.

"When you're playing on a field that's not as wetted down as most of the other fields are, it's more difficult to get the hops and still make the plays," he said.

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."

Barney did not make a miscue on Tuesday and now has played 1,745 1/3 innings without an error. He's closing in on the Major League record of 141 consecutive errorless games at second base, set by Placido Polanco in 2007 with the Tigers.

"I don't think about it, I try not to," Barney said about winning a Gold Glove. "It's out of my hands at this point. I don't even know who votes for that. I just try to play clean and take care of business and get ready to play every day.

"He's the best," Barney said of Phillips. "He's one of those guys who is fun to watch out there. If I were to happen to take that from him somehow, it'd be pretty cool. Right now, he's the former Gold Glover, not me."