Replacing Nick: Speaking of Nate McLouth, pictured, the veteran outfielder who had to come through the Orioles minor league system to get another shot in the bigs has settled right into the leadoff spot in place of Nick Markakis. It is not an easy assignment, considering that Markakis had been one of the hottest hitters in the league before Yankees ace CC Sabathia broke his thumb with an inside pitch Saturday night. McLouth has welcomed the challenge of replacing Markakis, but is not trying to impersonate him. He has a different skill set, but he seems to be a good fit for the leadoff spot and is clearly enjoying the opportunity to help a team in a pennant race. That doesn't mean he'll be up there every game, but he's going to be hard to dislodge if he keeps playing like this. Since pinch running for Markakis on Saturday night, he is 5-for-13 with four runs scored, a game-winning hit and two stolen bases.