In the midst of his most prolonged slump of the season, Chris Davis will be the Orioles’ designated hitter in Tuesday night’s game against the Houston Astros. He’ll still bat fifth, while Ryan Flaherty will take over at first base and bat eighth.
Manager Buck Showalter said it was a planned decision, as he is trying to use the team’s off days to give players two days off in a row.
Davis has struck out in 22 straight games, and his batting average in July is .202. He has six home runs and 17 RBIs this month, but he hasn’t hit a home run since the All-Star break and has driven in just four runs. He has 37 home runs and 97 RBIs on the year.
“It’s hard to follow that pace,” Showalter said. “He spoiled us at a very high level. He wants to get back to it.”
While Davis looks to get his stroke back as the team’s designated hitter, Flaherty will get his first start since July 5 at New York. With second baseman Brian Roberts’ return, Flaherty was relegated to the bench. In his past 11 starts, Flaherty is batting .389 with four home runs and nine RBIs.
“It’s part of the game,” Flaherty said. “Obviously, he’s one of the greatest second baseman to ever play. That’s just part of learning my position, my role.”
Flaherty had one other appearance at first base this year when Davis hurt his knee at the Los Angeles Angels on May 3. Last season, Flaherty played three games at first base.
“You try to simulate it when you’re not in there,” Flaherty said. “You try to take as many grounders, as many pitches as you can. You try to step right in and pick up where you left off.”
** Brian Roberts could go on paternity leave soon. His wife, Diana, due to give birth to their first child any day now.
** Showalter said right-hander Steve Johnson (oblique) might pitch again for Single-A short-season Aberdeen as part of his rehab.
** Houston right-hander Lucas Harrell, starting in place of the scratched Bud Norris, allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out five in seven innings against the Orioles on June 4 at Minute Maid Park. The Orioles, however, took a 4-1 victory.
** The Orioles are on pace to have four players (Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Nick Markakis) score 90 or more runs this season. The 1996 Orioles had five players (Roberto Alomar, Brady Anderson, Bobby Bonilla, Rafael Palmeiro, Cal Ripken) score 90 or more runs.
** Drungo Hazewood, the Orioles’ 1977 first-round pick, died Sunday in California after battling cancer.
** Third baseman Manny Machado has gone 82 plate appearances and 18 full games without a double. He still has 39.
** Machado and center fielder Adam Jones have combined for more hits than any other pair of teammates this season. They have 264 combined, while Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers have combined for 258.
** Davis has not homered in 10 straight games, the longest stretch of the season.
Astros: Villar 6, Altuve 4, Castro DH, Carter 3, Maxwell 9, Corporan 2, Barnes 8, Dominguez 5, Grossman 7; Harrell 1
Orioles: McLouth 7, Machado 5, Markakis 9, Jones 8, Davis DH, Wieters 2, Hardy 6, Flaherty 3, Roberts 4; Chen 1