The fact that Reds manager Dusty Baker keeps getting hired is one of those great mysteries of baseball. It seems like Dusty Baker being a terrible manager is one of the few subjects upon which all people, north and south, east and west, Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant, agree. Everyone "knows" of his propensity for destroying promising young pitchers, making questionable lineup decisions and employing poor in-game tactics.
For all that, he got to manage in the playoffs last year. I guess it helps when two players on your team are Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. Votto's batting .318/.440/.489 and Bruce's numbers are .277/.348/.511. It's pretty hard to mess those guys up. Our old friend Ramon Hernandez is also over there, batting .308/.371/.503. Hernandez's OPS is 170 points higher than that of Matt Wieters, which is one of those facts that makes you want to laugh at the ridiculous competitive imbalance between the two leagues, and depending on your tendency towards violence may also make you want to punch someone in the face.
One other note on Cincinnati hitters: check out this slash line for Reds shortstop Paul Janish: .234/.263/.278. That's over 220 PA. The OBP is sub-Izturisian. Janish is most likely helped by the other shortstop on the roster being the corpse of Edgar Renteria.
Tonight's Reds starter is Edinson Volquez, who will probably always get chances in the big leagues based on the strength of his 2008 season, where he struck out 206 batters in 196 IP, pulling a 3.21 ERA. He has never had a sub-4.00 ERA at the end of a season ever since, and this year will be the first he's pitched more than 70 innings, having lost most of 2009 and 2010 due to Tommy John surgery. Volquez doesn't seem to have been the same pitcher since the TJ, as he's sporting a 5.61 ERA, but he's still striking out more dudes than he has innings pitched. Somehow this is probably Dusty Baker's fault.
Starting for the Orioles tonight is Chris Jakubauskas. I thought he was supposed to just be a spot starter? Well, whatever. Here we go again. He hasn't been awful in his three starts, giving up 7 ER over 15.1 IP, but he's never gone even six innings. Still, it's about as much as you can hope for from him. But for all the supposed starting pitching depth the O's are developing, it's discouraging the more starts Jakubauskas makes, because shouldn't there be someone better to take these starts than him? The answer is apparently no.
Nick Markakis brings a thirteen-game hitting streak into this game. He also brings a terrible neck beard. I don't mean to speak ill of Mrs. Markakis, but she is letting him down when she lets him leave the house looking like that. Maybe if he shaved it off himself, that would give his arms a workout and bring back his power. Stranger things have happened, right?