A scuffling offense searching for traction will test its fortunes against a pitcher making only his second big league start when the Blue Jays close out their three-game series against the Orioles on Wednesday afternoon at Camden Yards.
Toronto has lost six of eight after dropping the first two games of the series and has scored more than four runs only once since April 12. In 21 games overall, the Blue Jays have managed three runs or fewer 13 times and have five games with five hits or fewer. Jose Reyes is on the disabled list after a hot start, while Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are both hovering around the Mendoza Line.
"The good teams have everybody doing something. But yeah, there's no question they're in the middle of our lineup, they're our big guys," manager John Gibbons said. "They will, they're going to get it going. But you look up and down our lineup, there has been a number of guys that have been hit or miss. They've been kind of cold. We feel good once that happens, we have a pretty good team."
On Wednesday, Toronto will face Josh Stinson, whom the Orioles claimed off waivers April 4 and will add to their 25-man roster before the game. The 25-year-old right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.43 ERA in 20 career games, and his only start came last Oct. 3 for the Brewers, as he gave up one run in four innings against the Padres. He has a 1.32 ERA in 13 2/3 Minor League innings this year.
The Orioles needed a starter for the game thanks to a rainout last Friday and a subsequent doubleheader. They chose Stinson over two more experienced pitchers currently at Triple-A Norfolk: Zach Britton and Freddy Garcia.
"I'm very excited," Stinson said. "Any time you get claimed, obviously the team sees something in you. And to be in the big leagues this fast, it is a great opportunity for me and I'm just going to try to take it and run with it."
The Blue Jays will counter with Brandon Morrow (0-2, 5.57 ERA). The right-hander struggled on Friday against the Yankees, giving up seven runs -- five earned -- on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Blue Jays: Slow start for Encarnacion
Encarnacion hit .322 with eight home runs, 21 RBIs and a 1.054 OPS in April last season, setting the stage for a breakout campaign.
He hasn't found the same success early in 2013, hitting .208 with three home runs and a .658 OPS. Encarnacion was on a 1-for-16 slide until Tuesday, when he hit a three-run homer and walked twice, and Gibbons suggested he's been running into some tough luck.
"He hit a couple of balls that Vernon [Wells] robbed him the other day at home," Gibbons said. "He's hitting some balls on the money. He just isn't getting a whole lot of things to show for it."
Orioles: Johnson slamming the door
Closer Jim Johnson has converted 29 consecutive save opportunities going back to last July 30, giving him the longest active streak in the Majors and the second longest in franchise history. He trails only Randy Myers, who saved 34 straight during the 1997 season.
Johnson has yet to allow an earned run in 11 innings this year, racking up eight saves. He leads the Majors with 66 since Sept. 7, 2011, blowing only three chances during that span.
• With Stinson being recalled for Wednesday's game, the Orioles likely will option reliever Alex Burnett back to Triple-A Norfolk. Burnett was recalled on Monday when Jake Arrieta was sent down.
• Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is 11-for-28 (.393) against Morrow, with three home runs and nine RBIs.
• Emilio Bonifacio is the only Blue Jays player with regular-season experience against Stinson, going 1-for-1.
Andrew Simon is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.