There are many sides to Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, and we’ve seen them all on display at various times this season. First and foremost is the outspoken side of Brandon Phillips. He didn’t hold any of his personal feelings back when calling his $72.5 million contract a slap in the face in an interview with Cincinnati magazine.
More recently, an oversensitive Phillips attacked Cincinnati Enquirer baseball writer C. Trent Rosecrans with several personal insults after taking exception to a tweet about his on-base percentage. He has since apologized for his remarks and made amends with Rosecrans.
Then there’s the fun-loving side of Phillips. That’s the one we all prefer, and it was nice to see that side of him show up on Saturday during the Reds 7-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Now occupying the second spot in Cincinnati's order after spending the first five months hitting cleanup, Phillips has a few new responsibilities. Most notably, manager Dusty Baker has taken the emphasis off driving runs home, and replaced it with an emphasis on getting on base or moving runners along. It depends on what the specific situation calls for. On Saturday, Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a double. That meant Phillips' job was to move him to third base. A sacrifice bunt was called, and executed, but Phillips added a hilarious twist to his assignment.
Rather than run into the tag of Brewers first baseman Yuniesky Betancourt, Phillips U-turned and headed for the dugout, perhaps thinking Betancourt would follow him. That didn't happen. Betancourt held his position on the line, so Phillips ended the quick game of cat and mouse himself by running up to Betancourt and high-fiving his glove hand. That's a sacrifice bunt, three-unassisted, if you're scoring at home, but Phillips essentially tagged himself out.
It was a little odd, sure, but it's always good to see players still having fun at this point in the season. That's especially true for a team like Cincinnati that remains firmly in the postseason hunt. With their win on Saturday and Washington's 5-4 loss to Philadelphia, Cincinnati now holds a 5 1/2 game edge in the NL wild card. That sounds comfortable, but with two wild weeks remaining in the regular season, there's plenty of reason to be on edge in Cincinnati.