PITTSBURGH -- Amid the rubble of a difficult season, Darwin Barney keeps offering something to watch.
With another error-free game Saturday, Barney now has the National League record for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman at 124. He has also has passed the 1,000 consecutive innings mark without a miscue, with his last at second base coming April 17 at Miami.
While impressive, it remains to be seen whether or not Barney can unseat the Reds’ Brandon Phillips for the National League Gold Glove award at second base. The award is voted on by managers and coaches.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum hopes the errorless streak carries weight with Gold Glove voters. The only concern is whether or not they even know about it.
“I think you have to (acknowledge the streak),” Sveum said. “I think a lot of people that are voting sometimes don’t really know that because it’s not their team or they’re not in our division. Hopefully it’s brought to their attention. I think it’s probably been talked about enough nationally that people do know what has gone on here defensively with Barney.”
Barney just broke a tie with former Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg, who went 123 consecutive errorless games at second between the 1989 and 1990 seasons. Barney’s streak was already the record for most consecutive errorless games at second base in a single season.
The major league record for consecutive errorless games at second base in a single season is 141 set by the Tigers’ Placido Polanco in 2007. Barney can still reach that number before the end of the season.
Polanco also holds the overall record at 186 games, set from 2006-08.
Working against Barney when it comes to Gold Glove consideration is that he is a light hitter. As odd as it might sound, many past Gold Glove winners got consideration for their ability to hit as well.
“There is no doubt over the years that some people, especially when you’re in the industry and you definitely know somebody else is better defensively, but somebody had a monster offensive year and they’ve gotten the award,” Sveum said. “Hopefully that doesn’t (happen) now. He’s had such an exceptional defensive season that stands out as possibly one of the best of all time. Hopefully that is enough to sway people.”