Minnesota has dropped three consecutive series and sports the worst record in the Major Leagues at 8-22, while Toronto has held its own in the ultra-competitive American League East, sitting three games above .500 with the second best run differential in the AL.
Toronto, which has gone 3-3 on the road trip, will turn to Henderson Alvarez and he'll be facing Minnesota for the first time. Alvarez brings a personal-best two-game winning streak into the start after throwing the first shutout of his young career, against the Angels.
"Just another outstanding pitched game again tonight," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said following Alvarez's last outing, which came a day after Brandon Morrow tossed his own shutout vs. the Angels. "Henderson, right from the first pitch of the game through the 97th one, he stayed in his delivery well, didn't overthrow the baseball."
He gets a Twins squad that's among the weakest teams in the league offensively, which should be a good matchup for the youngster, who challenges opposing hitters by pitching to contact.
Alvarez is averaging the second-fewest strikeouts per nine innings in the AL, but his effectiveness comes in his ability to throw strikes. He has the fifth-highest ground-ball percentage in the AL.
The 22-year-old Alvarez will be opposed by veteran Jason Marquis, who issued a season-high six walks in his last outing, but has posted back-to-back quality starts.
"I've been on those teams where when pitching is going good, hitting stinks," said Marquis, who is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA. "And when pitching stinks, hitting is going good. We gotta match it up. We just need, as pitchers, to do our job. And I know the hitters are going to be doing their job. We just need everything to line up."
The Twins entered Wednesday with the worst team ERA in the Majors and highest opponents' batting average in the AL. Their offense hasn't been able to pick them up either, as Twins hitters have produced the fewest runs in the AL.
Blue Jays: Lind delivers in new spot in lineup
Wednesday's game marked the lowest Adam Lind has hit in the batting order since (eighth) taking two at-bats out of the No. 9 spot in 2010.
The first baseman delivered by going 2-for-4 and connecting on his second homer of the season. Lind entered the game with the lowest average, .186, and OPS, .585, among all starters, and finished the game with those numbers at .198 and .630, respectively.
Lind, a 2009 Silver Slugger Award winner, understood Farrell's decision behind the move.
"Just trying to kick-start something," Lind said. "I'm not really doing a whole lot in the fourth spot, so hopefully I can help the team out more. ... It's kind of just to free your mind a little bit."
Morrow won his fourth straight decision on Wednesday to improve to 4-1 on the season, and lowered his ERA to 2.27 -- tops among all Blue Jays starters.
The right-hander also struck out a season-high 10 batters and took over the team lead with 39 on the year. Morrow, who led the AL with a 10.19 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011, has struck out 27 over his past three starts, after fanning just 12 over his first four outings.
Morrow's scoreless streak was snapped at 23 2/3 innings, as he surrendered a fifth-inning run to Oakland on Wednesday, and he issued four walks after posting none in two consecutive outings. It was the first two times in Morrow's career that he didn't walk a batter in a game he started.
Twins: Team struggling to find its way
Minnesota, which was a perennial contender in the AL for much of the past decade, has seen last year's slide to the bottom of the Central carry over into this season.
The Twins finished 2011 with 63 wins, the fewest in the AL, and are the only team in the Majors that has not yet reached double digits in wins this season. Minnesota has won just three of its last 16 games.
Josh Willingham hit his first homer since April 17 in a losing effort against the Angels on Wednesday night.
It was the slugger's team-leading sixth of the season and increased his average to .312. Willingham is the only Twins player with an on-base percentage above .400 and his 1.042 OPS in the third best mark in the AL.
After missing Monday's contest because of a skin infection, Willingham is 4-for-7 over his last two games with two RBIs and three extra-base hits.
Edwin Encarnacion, who hit his team-leading 10th homer for the Blue Jays in Wednesday's series finale against Oakland, is batting 8-for-16 with two home runs and a 1.493 career OPS against Marquis.
Toronto won five of the six contests between the two clubs last season, and is 16-7 agianst the Twins dating back to 2009.