Pearce could play today

Eight of the Orioles' 11 games this season have been decided by two runs or fewer.

Too early to detect a trend?

Reliever Darren O'Day has 13 straight scoreless appearances dating to last season.

Right fielder Nick Markakis has a seven-game hitting streak. He's 10-for-30 with a double, triple, three RBIs and three runs scored during that stretch.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter wants to give Steve Pearce a start, and today's game presents an opportunity with the Blue Jays sending left-hander Mark Buehrle to the mound.

The challenge is figuring out which right-handed bat to replace in the order. Delmon Young is 8-for-21 (.381) with a home run in five games, and he's 15-for-42 (.357) with three homers lifetime against Buehrle.

Nelson Cruz is 0-for-14 versus Buehrle. Lough isn't starting today, so Pearce could play left field and Young could serve as the designated hitter.

Markakis is 17-for-38 (.447) with four doubles and two homers against Buehrle. He stays in right field.

Chris Davis is 6-for-14 (.429) with two home runs. Adam Jones is 9-for-23 (.391) with two doubles and a home run. Matt Wieters is 6-for-19 (.316) with a double and home run.

Pearce is 1-for-2 with a double. Small sample size, but I'm expecting him to play today.

J.J. Hardy will stay in the lineup as long as his back cooperates. He's only 3-for-22 (.136) with a double and home run against Buehrle, but it won't matter to Showalter, who noticed how badly his shortstop wanted to play while stuck on the bench.

"Glad to get him out of the dugout, in more ways than one," Showalter said. "He's always got good things to say, though. He's one of those guys that, you ask, 'Any questions?' And he puts his hand up and you go, 'Oh, geez, I better be good for this one.' It's going to be a good question. I tried in spring. I said, 'Hey, can you ask your questions after we're done?' Just kidding, but he's pretty sharp.

"He's another guy who could manage one day. He's got a nice presence about him. I don't think he'll have to, but if he so chooses ..."

I choose to wish my mother a very happy birthday. Unfortunately, I can't spend the day with her, but she's getting lots of long distance hugs from me today.

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