CHICAGO -- Make no mistake about it, Darwin Barney's errorless streak has reached triple digits.
After a putout and three assists Monday, Barney has now gone 100 games without an error to extend the longest such streak in a single season in Chicago Cubs history.
For much of the season Cubs manager Dale Sveum has said that Barney deserves strong consideration as a Gold Glove candidate, but after Monday’s game he was putting his foot down.
“Right now there's no doubt in my mind he should win the Gold Glove,” Sveum said.
It doesn’t always work out that way, of course as the Gold Glove Award tends to be a popularity contest only exceeded by All-Star Game voting.
“I know there are other guys out there that have done good jobs but I'd hate to see anybody that's done a better job on every facet of the game,” manager Dale Svuem said. “It's hard to think anybody's better at pop ups down the right field line... that people forget about the way he goes after those.
“Turning the double play, he's been unbelievable. It's not just making errors or not having any errors. It's the range he's showed, the ability to have everything in his tool box going to his right, going to his left.”
Earlier this month Barney passed Ryne Sandberg’s previous single-season Cubs best of 90 consecutive errorless games from a second baseman set in 1989. Sandberg went on the next season to set the overall mark for a Cubs second baseman at 123 games without an error.
It’s an impressive showing from somebody who just started playing second base regularly just two seasons ago.
“I put a lot of work into it and getting another year under my belt at the second-base position I think was big,” Barney said. “I reflected and thought about what are the plays I got in trouble on and what plays were tough for me. Coming out early and having four or five coaches that played the infield helps.”
Barney wasn’t going to take all the credit, though. The exaggerated shifts the Cubs employ on the infield have helped as well.
“From Day 1, (first-base coach) Dave McKay and (Sveum) worked with me around the bag and (infield coach Pat) Listach has been huge,” Barney said. “He’s on me all the time to keep my work up. He’s doing a lot of work on the position stuff that really helps with your range. If you were trying to play where they are hitting the hard balls, that will lengthen out your range because you will get to the ones that aren’t hit hard and be in position to where they do hit them hard.”
The last time Barney made an error was April 17 at Miami. He has gone 807 1/3 consecutive innings without a miscue.