After their third straight loss on Monday, a 6-2 defeat, the Orioles remain tied atop the division with the Rays. They will turn to right-hander Jake Arrieta on Tuesday to help them avoid a season-worst four-game skid and a drop in the division standings for the first time since early this month.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, look to continue to gain ground in the East and are only four games behind the Orioles and Rays entering Tuesday.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked on Monday if the nine-game road trip holds added importance for the Orioles because it's against three rivals in the Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox.
"Before the last trip, it was the same question. There is always going to be an angle," Showalter said. "If we don't play well these nine games, is the season over? You can't get caught up in that mentality. You go out there, grind, bust it and see where it takes you. Fall into that trap and you will have some real mental and emotional momentum that will work against you."
Both of Tuesday's starters, Arrieta and Toronto's Ricky Romero, are looking to rebound after subpar outings. Arrieta, who has been inconsistent this season, surrendered four runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings in a 6-5 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday. He issued three walks and struck out just two.
Romero also pitched on Wednesday, walking a career-high seven in a 5-4 loss to the Rays. The southpaw, who was not the pitcher of record in that contest, allowed four runs on two hits in six innings. Though he is tied for the club's lead in wins, he has struggled with command, averaging 5.1 free passes per nine innings.
After his most recent start, Romero could not explain the inconsistency in location that has plagued him in 2012.
"I can't explain it, I'm frustrated," Romero, the Blue Jays' Opening Day starter, said. "I just have to keep working. The game takes a lot out of you -- mentally more than physically -- and it's gotten its toll on me, because I'm trying to fix things, and it's just not going my way."
He hopes Tuesday will be different.
Orioles: Reynolds activated from disabled list
Third baseman Mark Reynolds was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday and started as the designated hitter in Monday's 6-2 loss to the Blue Jays. He had been on the DL since May 10 with a strained left oblique.
"Everybody was glad to see him. I know he's glad to be back," Showalter said. "He's ready to go."
Batting out of the eighth spot, Reynolds went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a walk.
Before going on the DL, Reynolds struggled to the tune of a .191 average and two home runs. Reynolds, who could be used at both first and third base, hit 30 or more home runs in each of the past three seasons. He raised his average to .207 on Monday.
Stu Pomeranz was placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Saturday, with a torn left oblique. The rookie reliever had allowed two runs in six innings with three strikeouts and one walk.
"He has a pretty good tear in there," Showalter said. "I don't think that will be an imminent DL return, that's the early read on it. ... It's a kick in the pants losing Pomeranz. He was a big help to our bullpen as a guy who could pitch multiple innings."
Brian Roberts is on a rehab assignment, and it's possible that he could rejoin the Orioles sometime in June. He has played five games for Double-A Bowie.
"The plans are -- not to get too far ahead -- [for him] to play with [Triple-A] Norfolk for about a week," Showalter said. "We talked about wanting him to really finish up competition-wise in Triple-A. That's just tentative."
Blue Jays: Laffey called up from Triple-A
Left-handed reliever Aaron Laffey was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday, and right-hander Chad Beck was sent down.
Laffey is 21-23 with one save and a 4.34 ERA in 126 career Major League games. The 27-year-old was 2-5 with a 4.88 ERA in nine starts for Las Vegas.
"We needed length, and [Laffey is] on the 40-man [roster] right now," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said before Monday's game. "He was scheduled to pitch [on Tuesday]. He's a guy that could give us four or five innings, assuming the performance is there, if we need him. Hopefully, you don't, and your starter can go deep. But we needed the protection in case something was to happen."
Shortstop Yunel Escobar was held out of the lineup on Monday with an injured left groin. Manager John Farrell said before the game that Escobar's situation is day to day.
"We don't think that's a long-term issue," Farrell said.
Orioles outfielder Endy Chavez is expected to be activated from the 15-day DL on Tuesday and rejoin the club. He was hitting just .133 before going on the DL with an injured left oblique on May 9.
Blue Jays second baseman Kelly Johnson returned to the lineup on Monday after missing two games because of a sore hamstring. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored.
With a single in the ninth inning on Monday, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones extended his hitting streak to 19 games.