I’ll go out on a limb here and defend Dusty Baker’s lineup today. My reasons:

  1. The bench players do need a start from time to time. Even Castro, if he’s going to be here.
  2. Hamels is an especially tough lefty, and nobody on the Reds except EE (2 for 4 and a walk) has any success against him.
  3. Junior needs a day off.
  4. Both Hatte and Votto are struggling, and probably aren’t going to be helped by facing Hamels.

I heard Dusty on yesterday’s post-game show, and it sounded to me like he was happy with getting 2 wins against the Phillies, and considered today to be gravy, especially with Hamels throwing. I think he figured that the Reds would have a hard time outscoring Hamels and the Phils today, even with a good lineup, and that made today a good day to “sacrifice” one game for the sake of the long season.

Frankly, I can live with that. To win the division, the Reds are going to have to win series, not split them – especially at home – but on this day, given all the circumstances, I can live with the lineup. The truth is, I don’t think that adding Griffey, Votto, and/or Corey Patterson makes much difference. Not the way Arroyo pitched.

(Baker also has a somewhat-goofy theory about slap hitters being more likely than sluggers would be to succed against Hamels. Not sure I buy that. A couple of slap hitters have done okay against him, but it’s mostly guys like Cabrera, Hanley, and Chipper at the top of the list.)

Your thoughts?