NEW YORK - Reds manager Pete Mackanin heard good things about Brandon Phillips' talent and some not so good things about his attitude.
Phillips' talent has been evident. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games Sunday. He's hitting .375 (18-for-48) with five home runs and 15 RBI during the streak and he's played spectacularly good defense.
But Mackanin likes Phillips' attitude as much.
"You know what I like about him?" Mackanin said. "I heard some things that he could work on his makeup, but he's been a pleasure to be around. I see a guy who loves to play the game. He's not scared. He goes up there and tries to beat you."
Phillips is hitting .283 with 19 home runs, 55 RBI, 63 runs scored and 17 stolen bases.
That puts Phillips on pace to become the first 30-30 Red since Barry Larkin in 1996. Eric Davis (1987) is the other Red to go 30-30.
Phillips, 26, says he isn't caught up in the numbers.
"To tell the truth, I've just been playing baseball, man," he said. "I haven't really been worrying about things lately."
But Phillips is feeling it at the plate.
"I've been feeling good all year - except when it was cold; I didn't even feel like playing then," he said. "But I've been feeling good at the plate. I haven't been getting tired. I'm healthy. I'm just trying to hit the ball the best way I know how."
Mackanin continues to rave about the play Phillips made Friday night on a screaming groundball off the bat of Carlos Beltran.
"The play he made on Beltran to his right, I guarantee you 95 percent of infielders give that an ole shot," Mackanin said. "He threw his whole body at it. To me, that's a winning play."
Phillips was taking his good looks in his hands when he got in front of the ball.
"Shoot, he hits the ball hard," Phillips said. "To tell you the truth, I don't know how I knocked it down. If it didn't hit my glove, it would have hit me in the face. It was knuckling and everything."
Phillips said signing free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez has helped him improve his defense.
"I like watching him take groundballs," Phillips said. "It's fun. He's a great defender. I learn from him. I talk to him all the time. I feel like I'm getting better by watching him and talking to him."