WASHINGTON -- Hot-hitting Steve Pearce won’t start tonight for the Orioles against the Washington Nationals.
Because the Orioles can’t use a designated hitter for their interleague games at Nationals Park, they either had to play without slugger Nelson Cruz, or sacrifice one of their regular fielders.
Cruz will man left field tonight, and Pearce, who can play left field or first base, was removed from the starting lineup.
The lineup keeps Chris Davis at first base and batting fifth, even though he’s is hitting just .201, including 2-for-34 in his last 10 games. Davis is batting just .194 against right-handers this year, and righty Stephen Strasburg is starting for the Nationals tonight.
Pearce is batting .326 this year, including .322 against righties, and he has hits in seven of his last nine games.
Pearce has no at-bats against Strasburg, and Davis is 1-for-2 against the Nationals’ ace. Right-handers are hitting Strasburg significantly better this year, batting .282 versus .239 for lefties.
** In other pregame news, Pearce and center fielder Adam Jones were named co-American League Player of the Week.
Jones, who was voted an American League starter for the All-Star Game, is riding a 10-game hitting streak and is batting .459 with two home runs and six RBIs in that span.
Pearce has reached safely in eight of his last nine games, and he set a career-best with four hits, including two doubles, last Thursday against the Texas Rangers.
It is each player’s first career weekly honors.
** Right-hander Julio DePaula is on the lineup card for the Orioles today.
The 31-year-old was signed by the Orioles from the Atlantic League’s York Revolution and was pitching at Double-A Bowie. He didn’t surrender a run in three relief appearances there.
A corresponding move hasn’t been officially announced, but since everyone but starting pitchers are listed on the lineup card, the sense is a starter is being sent down.
A likely candidate is right-hander Kevin Gausman, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday and tossed 104 pitches in 5 1/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox.
If Gausman is indeed optioned, he could get two starts in the minors and then return when the Orioles resume the season after the All-Star break on the road against the Oakland Athletics on July 18.
Here are today’s lineups: