PHOENIX – For all the losses and wrong-way milestones the Cubs have reached, or are getting close to reaching, nothing had created the kind of pall in the postgame clubhouse that was felt Friday night after Darwin Barney’s eighth-inning throwing error that snapped his record fielding streak.
“That was probably the sickest feeling I’ve ever had in the game,” manager Dale Sveum said, “besides a couple playoff losses when you knew you were going home.
“I know that locker room is pretty beat up right now. But it was a heck of a run. To be able to hang your hat on being one of only two people in the history of the game to ever do anything like that is something to be proud of obviously.”
Barney’s errorless streak lasted 141 games over 162 days – longer than Ian Stewart’s and Alex Hinshaw’s days in a Cub uniforms combined.
And in the heat of the desert, in the eighth inning of an otherwise run-of-the-mill 8-3 loss to the Diamondbacks, Darwin Barney made a tough throw on an aggressive play at second base, and it was over — snapping a 141-game streak that tied Placido Polanco for longest at the position in major-league history for a single season.
When Arizona’s Justin Upton grounded a ball toward the middle with none out and Aaron Hill at second, Barney gloved it behind second and flung an off-balance throw to first that skipped under the glove of Anthony Rizzo.
Upton was awarded a hit, but when Hill was able to continue around third and score, Barney got an error – his first at second base since the eighth inning April 17 in Miami.
Afterward, in a quiet clubhouse, several players emerged from a back room about a half-hour after the game, including Barney and Rizzo, who decided to do their media interviews in tandem.
“It was fun,” Barney said. “It had to end sometime; that’s just how the game works. A funny game. A really funny game – how you can go 141 games, and then it happens on that game.
“I’m definitely able to appreciate that. It was a big year for me defensively.
That error doesn’t change that.”
Barney had no regrets about taking a shot at Upton with the risky throw, in what was a two-run game at the time.
“That’s just how you play the game,” he said. “You can’t hold that ball right there.”
Said Sveum: “Even down the stretch here he’s done a lot of things that other people might have been afraid to do. He’s made some plays and turned double plays – tough double plays – when he didn’t have to throw the balls.
“It’s been one of the most impressive things I’ve seen.”
Later in the inning, during a pitching change, Barney and Rizzo chatted near first while the rest of the infield was on the mound.
“Well, Rizzo wanted to throw up,” Barney said. “Both of us were just talking about how we didn’t want another ball. … When your head feels like it’s floating around in the air, and not connected to our body, that’s kind of how we both felt.
“I felt more bad for Rizz, because I knew how bad he felt. That’s not his fault at all. It’s one of those things where the ball popped up off the Arizona dirt. That’s just how it goes.
“His job is to try to make that pick, and my job is to try to make that play, and unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us. Hopefully, we’re doing this for a long time together. The guy’s unbelievable. He’s going to be a Gold Glove caliber first baseman for sure. He shouldn’t feel bad.”
Barney’s error in Miami was also a throwing error. He also committed a throwing error July 6 in New York, while playing shortstop.
Polanco owns the overall second base streak of 186 errorless games (2006-08).
“What he’s done is incredible,” Rizzo said of Barney. “If he doesn’t win a Gold Glove, it would be a shame.”