Baker eager for Bay Area series

Baker eager for Bay Area series

CINCINNATI -- San Francisco carries deep meaning for Reds manager Dusty Baker. How could it not?

Baker's final three seasons as a player was spent in the Bay Area, with the Giants in 1984, and A's from 1985-86. He managed the Giants for 10 seasons from 1993-2002, going to the World Series in his final season.

The Reds open a 10-day road trip on Friday with the first of three games vs. the Giants at AT&T Park.

"It's one of the dates you mark on the calendar every year," Baker said.

Baker still keeps his home in Sacramento, Calif.

"I'm looking forward to seeing my family," Baker said. "My boy, [9-year-old Darren], I called him this morning and he said, '14 hours.' He's counting the hours until they get there. I'll see my mom and dad, all my relatives and people I know in San Francisco."

For the Reds, it might have been better for the trip to come at a different time of the season. This is their second-straight 10-day journey and they're in the midst of a 16-day stretch until their next day off on May 1.

This trip also spans three cities over three time zones. After San Francisco, the Reds play three games each at St. Louis and Atlanta. Cincinnati went 3-6 on its last road trip, including dropping a three-game sweep to the Pittsburgh Pirates that started a prolonged skid.

"The schedule hasn't been real kind to us early," Baker said.

The Reds, losers in 10 of their last 13 games, are desperate to start a series strong. They are 0-8 in the first game of a series this season.

Pitching matchup
CIN: RHP Aaron Harang (1-2, 2.83 ERA)
Harang threw eight innings of one-run ball against the Brewers on Sunday, but because the score was tied when he checked out, he didn't factor into the decision -- won 4-3 in 10 innings. The right-hander gave up four hits without a walk and struck out eight.

SF: LHP Jonathan Sanchez (1-1, 4.50 ERA)
Sanchez picked up his first victory on Sunday against St. Louis, which matched his 2007 win total. He tossed five scoreless innings, while allowing just two hits, striking out five and walking four. He threw 101 pitches, with 59 for strikes. For the season, he has 26 strikeouts and 10 walks in 20 innings.

Short hops
Edwin Encarnacion's career high hitting streak is at 14 games. He is batting .377 (20-for-53) during the streak. Encarnacion was 2-for-3 on Thursday against the Astros.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN-HD

On radio
• WLW 700

Up next
• Saturday: Reds (Matt Belisle, 0-1, 11.25) at Giants (Kevin Correia, 1-3, 4.21), 9:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Reds (Edinson Volquez, 3-0, 1.21) at Giants (Barry Zito, 0-5, 5.61), 4:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Reds (Bronson Arroyo, 0-3, 7.56) at Cardinals (Todd Wellemeyer, 2-0, 3.77), 8:15 p.m. ET

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.