Baltimore, surprisingly, is tied for first in the AL East with the Rays and is five games ahead of the fourth-place Blue Jays. The series in Toronto begins a nine-game trip against division foes, with three-game sets against the Rays and Red Sox to follow.
Both the Blue Jays and Orioles are struggling, as Toronto dropped a season-high fifth in a row Sunday, while Balitmore has lost its past two series and is 2-5 in its past seven games.
The two clubs have have met twice this season, most recently last month in Baltimore, where the Orioles swept Toronto. Overall, Baltimore has won five of six contests vs. its division rival.
The Blue Jays return home after going 1-5 over a six-game road trip and face an Orioles team that is 15-6 away from Camden Yards for the best road winning percentage (.714) in the Majors.
Manager Buck Showalter has been credited as a major reason for the Orioles' turnaround. Baltimore is a respectable 132-135 since Showalter took over midseason in 2010. But the 56-year-old, who has brought the team from cellar dweller to contender, is quick to point out that the franchise's revitalization is not all about him.
"We have a lot of people involved here who have a stake in the Orioles doing well," Showalter said. "There's a connection to the town and the city and the people and the struggles. There's a burn there, but it's challenging as well. We've got three-fourths of the season left."
Like Showalter, Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista knows there's a lot of season left and is trying to stay positive after his club's difficult road trip.
"I wouldn't dwell on it too much," Bautista said. "It was just a bad road trip. It's happened before and it will happen again. We just have to go home and focus on who we have coming in and try to beat them.
"To me, this road trip or any other road trip is no measuring stick for how the rest of the season is going to go. Again, those games are over, we can't go back in time and change them. We just have to win tomorrow [Monday] night."
Rookie Drew Hutchison, who is coming off the worst start of his young career, will get the ball for Toronto, while Baltimore counters with Tommy Hunter, who picked up a victory over the Blue Jays at Baltimore on April 24.
Hunter limited Toronto to three hits on one run while tossing six innings in the win. That was the last time, however, that Hunter has been victorious. In five starts since, he's 0-1 and has allowed at least four runs in three of his past four starts.
Hutchison also faced the Orioles this season -- in his second big league start on April 26 -- and logged five innings in a no-decision. He hasn't lasted more than six innings this season and allowed a career-high six earned runs his last time out against the Rays.
Blue Jays: Overused bullpen leads to roster moves
Toronto called up right-handers Jesse Chavez and Chad Beck from Triple-A Las Vegas after its bullpen was forced to pitch 13 2/3 innings during the first two games of its series with Texas.
Chavez impressed in his debut with the Blue Jays after relieving starter Kyle Drabek in the fourth inning. The 28-year-old threw five innings, allowing three runs while striking out seven and walking none. He recorded five consecutive punchouts at one point.
To make room for Chavez and Beck, Toronto optioned utility man Yan Gomes to Vegas, while right-hander Ryota Igarashi was designated for assignment.
J.P. Arencibia clubbed two homers in Sunday's series finale against Texas, taking over as the Major League leader among all catchers with nine.
Orioles: Jones continues hitting
Adam Jones extended his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games with a double in the fifth inning of Sunday's loss to Kansas City.
The center fielder, who is among the AL leaders in nearly every major offensive category, signed a six-year contract extension worth $85.5 million before the game.
Jones, a 2009 All-Star and Gold Glove winner, is batting .308 with 14 home runs and a .944 OPS.
Sunday's loss to the Royals dropped the Orioles to 22-3 in games in which their pitcher throws a quality start.
Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis had success against Hutchison the only time he faced him, going 3-for-3 with a double.
Hunter has held Bautista to a .182 average (4-for-22) and .432 OPS with no home runs lifetime.