Baker on Phillips
In Wednesday’s win during the four-run fourth, Brandon Phillips skied a fly ball to right-center field. Looking discouraged, he put his head down and trotted. Only after the outfielders lost the ball in the twilight and Hunter Pence dropped it for a three-run error, did Phillips turn on the speed and he reached second base. Had Phillips been running all the way, reaching third base seemed possible. Did Dusty Baker see it that way?
“Not really. Every day we have something where somebody should be some place,” Baker said. “If anything that should have been a hit. Let’s focus on that rather than should he have been on third.
“Bourn didn’t see it. Ordinarily he catches that ball. It was the twilight. You could tell by the way he flipped his glove at the end, that Pence didn’t see the ball either until the last minute.”
Phillips scored anyway on Scott Rolen’s double but it was one of the little moments that was reduced by the positive vibe of a win. Had the Reds lost that game, you would wonder ‘what if?’ Last season, there was a similar situation where Phillips’ not hustling out a fly ball put the Reds out of a rally in Los Angeles. It earned him a one-game benching from Baker.
*Phillips, who came into Thursday with a .210 average, has also played every inning of every game so far this season. No day off is imminent. He would have gotten one during the last trip, the manager said — but the plan changed when Rolen was hurt.
“Some day. He’s not getting a break in St. Louis,” Baker said. “Most of the time when you get a break, you get a mental break. But you’ve got to find the right situation and right team to give a break.”
*Chris Dickerson started for the first time since he struck out four times on Saturday vs. the Padres. Dickerson is in a 2-for-15 clip and like Drew Stubbs, is needed to heat up from the leadoff spot.
“Neither of us can get too discouraged,” Dickerson said. “I don’t like to make excuses like that it’s April. It’s unfortunate that we’re both scuffling like we are. Drew had some good at-bats last night. It’s those types of signs we’re looking for from each other. I’m his biggest fan right now.”
*In the last seven games, Reds hitters are batting .319 (23-for-72) with runners in scoring position. And that includes last night’s 1-for-12 RISP.
*Voting for the “Fans Choice” Reds bobblehead ends on Friday at 5pm ET. Fans are able to choose among eight candidates with the the top man in ballots having his own bobblehead giveaway for the Saturday, July 31 game vs. the Braves game.