Orioles and Royals in series finale

Chris Davis' absence from the Orioles lineup last night didn't seem to hurt as much considering his one hit in 16 career at-bats against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie. Sure, it was a home run, but still ...

The Royals are sending James Shields to the mound this afternoon in the series finale, and Davis is 4-for-12 with a double, two homers and six RBIs against him.

Ouch.

Davis will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. The corresponding roster move probably will come on Tuesday.

Left-hander T.J. McFarland could be recalled. He wouldn't need to stay in the minors for the minimum 10 days if he's replacing an injured player. It's just a question of whether the Orioles need an eighth reliever or a fourth bench player.

Shields has posted a 1.91 ERA in five starts this season, but he's stuck with a 2-2 record. He's 9-7 with a 3.55 ERA in 24 career starts against the Orioles, and 6-2 with a 3.92 ERA in 12 starts at Camden Yards.

Nick Markakis figures to start at first base again. He's 20-for-66 (.303) with five doubles and two homers lifetime against Shields. He's also one hit shy of 1,400 for his career.

Markakis is 9-for-26 during his six-game hitting streak

Could Jemile Weeks remain atop the order? He's 3-for-7 (.429) versus Shields.

Bank on it.

Weeks had his first multi-hit game last night since Sept. 13, 2012.

Matt Wieters won't be behind the plate. He's doubled twice and homered twice against Shields, but he's only 5-for-24 (.208). And Showalter already said that Steve Clevenger would catch.

Adam Jones is 13-for-39 (.333) with five doubles, a triple and a home run against Shields.

Miguel Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA in two career starts against the Royals. Jarrod Dyson is 4-for-4 against him.

Down on the farm, third baseman Manny Machado is expected to start at third base again today and go nine innings at Single-A Frederick. The Orioles are eager to find out how he's feeling after playing back-to-back games for the Keys.

Machado should be activated over the weekend at the latest. It's not inconceivable that the Orioles put him on the 25-man roster for the Pirates series that begins Tuesday. Trust me, it's been discussed and will be revisited after today's game.

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