Funny how a negative incident sometimes turns positive.
Once again, the bats of the Cincinnati Reds were quieter than Trappist Monks early in Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
And things were compounded when usually sure-handed and sure-footed second baseman Brandon Phillips made like a croquet wicket and let a groiund ball slither through his legs for a two-run error that gave the Brewers a 3-2 lead.
The croquet wicket line, by the way, is an old one dating back to the late 1970s when Johnny Bench tried to play third and made a gaggle of errors during spring training and I wrote, “Johnny Bench is doing an admirable imitation of a croquet wicket while trying to play third base.
He didn’t much care for my sense of humor that day.
And it was Phillips last year in San Diego who didn’t like it when he was thrown out at second base and I wrote, “Phillips was out by the distance between Mission Bay and Tijuana. He challenged me by saying, “What do you mean I was out by the distance between Michigan Bay and Tee-Ja-wanna?”
And it looks as if Adam Dunn’s misfortunes are doing a 180.
Before the game, he told me of his .138 batting average, “I’m swinging at strikes, I’m looking at balls. I’m not swinging at bad pitches. And I feel good. It’ll turn around. If it doesn’t it is going to be a very long season.”
Then Wednesday night, after a walk, a run scored and a sacrifice fly, Dunn drove one to the deepest part of center field and the ball ricocheted off center fielder Gabe Gross’s glove and over the wall for a two-run home run and a 7-3 Reds lead.
Anyway, after Phillips’ error, the runs came like the rains are expected for this afternoon’s game, in a flood. The roof in this place leaks, so raincoats are required in some seating areas.
The Reds scored three in the sixth, two in the seventh, three in the eighth and two in the ninth for a 12-4 victory.
Phillips said the ball took a squirrely bounce on him, “But I learned from last year. Just forget it and make the next play. Don’t mope and hold your head down. Next thing I know I get a hit and start a rally and my teammates picked me up. That’s what a team is all about.”
Manager Dusty Baker called it an uncharacteristic error, which is was from the guy who should have won the Gold Glove last year.
“Brandon Phillips is the best second baseman in the world,” said Baker. “I’ve never seen anybody work as hard as he does.”
Aaron Harang, 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA over his first two starts, makes his third start in a game that starts Thursday at noon - with Paul Bako as his batterymate.
It is 11:30 p.m. as I finish the night’s work and await a ride back to the Residence Inn. I thought about stretching out on the desk in front of me in the press box because the media meets Baker at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
But then I’d miss the free breakfast at the Residence.Tweet