Phillips 'very, very happy' with '09

I wish I had more for you today, but it’s been a rather quiet day at the yard — especially compared to Friday.

Talked to Brandon Phillips, who has been stuck at 95 RBIs for the past seven games. Once he crossed 90, he shifted his focus to 100 RBIs. He’s in a 0-for-12 skid at the moment.

“Everybody has said ‘you still have time.’ It’s nice to see that the team really wants me to do it,” Phillips said. “There’s always other years to do something like that.”

Especially considering the broken right index finger he played with in the first half, this has been a very good season for Phillips. He entered today batting .275 with with 20 homers, 95 RBIs and 25 steals. He’s improved his walk total each of the last three seasons and cut down on his strikeouts (44 walks and 74 strikeouts in 2009). His on-base percentage is .329, an improvement from 2008.

“I showed people that I could hit fourth,” Phillips said. “I showed I’m very versatile hitting in the lineup. I’m just very, very happy with myself with the year that I had. I’m having fun. If it wasn’t for the teammates hitting before me, I wouldn’t have as many RBIs as I have this year.

“This year really showed me the type of hitter that I am. It’s all about learning from the mistakes and making adjustments during the game and throughout a series.”

Phillips also reached 150 games for the second time in three years. He was the only regular position player to not spend time on the DL.

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Gomes 9
McDonald 7
Hernandez 2
Cueto 1

Count me as oddly wistful that the Twins are leaving the Metrodome as they play their final weekend there. Having covered games there for five seasons from 2001-05, it was a terrible place for baseball but a lot of fun, great and wacky stuff happened there. Balls bounced off the “baggie” with no rhyme or reason, the white roof made fly balls a total adventure and the noise during a pennant race game could be deafening. Before going to FieldTurf, they had the most dreaded Astroturf around. 

There were a lot of characters that worked there behind the scenes, too, and the press box was low enough and had no windows. You were right in the mix with the fans and had a great view. Fans often just came over and said hello and chatted before games. It just stunk having to go inside when it was 75 degrees and perfect weather outside. But you loved knowing that there was never, ever a rain delay and no freezing your you know what off in April for the opener.

Believe me when I say there was never a better home field advantage for any club. And in the years I was up there, the Twins won a lot of games. They claimed three-straight division titles from 2002-04. 

Jim Caple at ESPN.com wrote a great story to send the place off. Check it out. That being said, I can’t wait to see Target Field in Minneapolis. I just won’t go there in April or September.

Dusty Baker had a nice line of the day about reliever Arthur Rhodes and his previously mentioned broken big left toe came up again.

“He already limps naturally sometimes,” Baker said. “He walks like Fred Sanford. They always say ‘Dusty, show us how Arthur walks.'”

The Brewers won their afternoon game from the Cardinals. That means there’s no chance for the Reds to finish in third place.

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http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

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