Nick Markakis remains in the second spot in the lineup, with Adam Jones batting third. He's looking for his first extra-base hit since May 15, a span of 84 at-bats. His average is down to .236 with four homers, 19 RBIs, a .298 on-base percentage and a .304 slugging percentage. He's totaled at least 40 doubles in each of the last four seasons, but he's stuck on four this year.
I'm watching Markakis take batting practice now and he's launching a few balls into the right fields seats and onto the flag court. Another ball slammed off the Esskay sign on the out-of-town scoreboard.
Manager Buck Showalter addressed the speculation that Markakis is dealing with an undisclosed health issue, which the right fielder has denied.
"I'm real confident when the smoke clears, where Nick is going to be, the body of work," Showalter said.
"It's easy to say 'yes, he's right,' but if there was something wrong with Nicky, he wouldn't tell anybody. We had one night here where he got two hits and had a big game, and found out afterward he had a 100 degree temperature.
"I think he's fine. I know he does a lot of extra work. He's doing all the things he can do, in some cases maybe too much, but you're never going to take the want-to out of that. He's got too much of it going on.
"He's a guy you trust, you trust with a lot of things, and he'll figure it out, along with some help. I know we've had a lot of time and effort spent addressing it."