Baker unhappy with Phillips
It will be very interesting to check out the Reds lineup on Tuesday and see if Brandon Phillips is in it.
Phillips was caught not hustling again on what he expected to be a routine fly out in the first inning. The ball was lost in the sky by right fielder Andre Ethier. Because he wasn’t running hard out of the batters’ box, Phillips missed a chance for a RBI double that would have put him on second with no outs and a 3-0 Reds lead.
“I was just happy I finally did something with runners in scoring position,” Phillips explained. “I hit a fly ball to get the run and I was satisfied with that. I hit the ball in the outfield and was ‘I missed it.’ I put my head down. I didn’t know he missed it until I looked back up. I could have done worse and not get the run in at all.”
Moments later, Phillips admitted his mistake.
“I messed up,” he said. “That’s my second time not hustling this year. It won’t happen again.”
The rally died and the Reds went on to lose, 7-5. Los Angeles scored four runs in the first and two in the second. The bottom line is no play can be taken for granted when your team is playing the best in the Majors and you’re winless at the ballpark for three-straight seasons.
After the game, Phillips and Dusty Baker hadn’t yet spoken. Baker was furious with his second baseman.
“We should have gotten some more in that first inning, big time,” Baker fumed. “You have to hustle on that ball there or it’s a totally different inning. That was a rally killer for us.
“We’ve repeated it many, many times. You have to play hard all the time. That was big, real big. We had them on the ropes and we killed the rally.”
This wasn’t the first time this season Baker has been unhappy with Phillips. In June at Kansas City, he ignored a take sign on a 3-0 and swung. It resulted in a rally-ending fly out.
“We’ve all talked to him until we’re blue in the face,” Baker said. “Evidently, this must have started long before I got here.”
If Baker really wanted to get through to Phillips, he should have taken him out of the game after the top of the first. That would have sent a clear message.
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