MINNEAPOLIS -- After playing 12 consecutive games out of the All-Star break, the Baltimore Orioles were originally due for a day off Thursday before beginning a quick three-game road trip in Toronto.
That off day will have to wait until Monday.
Before beginning a crucial series against the Blue Jays, the Orioles first must make up a rain postponed game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Thursday night.
"It's this time of year where there's a decent amount of wear and tear," Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo said. "You just have to gut it out. That's what you have to do every year. You feel fortunate to have the ability to play every game, but this is kind of the grind that they talk about."
On May 9, inclement weather cancelled what was to be the first of a three-game series between the Orioles and the Twins. Instead of playing a doubleheader later in the week, both teams agreed it might be easier to make up the game near the end of July.
The game doesn't mean much to Minnesota, which has the worst record in the American League and is coming off a two-game sweep at the hands of baseball's worst team, the Atlanta Braves.
The Twins fell behind by seven runs early in the Wednesday game but battled back late, advancing the tying run to second base with two outs in the eighth inning. However, Minnesota couldn't find one more clutch hit, and it dropped its third consecutive game.
"We pecked away at them, got back into the game, but they added on a couple, which ended up being the difference in the game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We had chances right down to the end, but coming back from down seven is a tough task."
The stakes this weekend are large for the Orioles. Baltimore heads into Thursday two games ahead of Toronto for first place in the American League East, 2 1/2 games in front of the Boston Red Sox. The Orioles aim to avoid falling to Minnesota, which won the final two meetings at Target Field back in May.
The Orioles hope right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (5-9, 7.38 ERA) can get his season on track against an opponent he has had plenty of success against in his career. Jimenez was yanked from the rotation after allowing five runs in just 1 1/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on July 8, and he hasn't pitched since.
Jimenez, just off the paternity list after the birth of his first daughter, recently made a mechanical adjustment designed to allow him to better repeat his delivery.
"I'm hoping it's a positive for him, because anything that's a little different look that you haven't normally done when you're struggling sometime can work positively," Orioles manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun. "We had some -- not a whole lot of options -- but I think he might surprise us. Not me, but some people. You try to pick a place where he feels comfortable and has been successful. That would be the best place for him."
Jimenez is 5-3 in 10 appearances against the Twins in his career, including a 4-1 mark with a 1.82 ERA in six starts at Target Field.
Minnesota will counter with Kyle Gibson, coming off perhaps the best outing of his career on Friday against the Red Sox. Gibson (3-6, 4.67 ERA) allowed just two hits and one run over eight innings in the victory, not surrendering a hit after the first inning.
In four career starts against Baltimore, Gibson is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA. He lost to the Orioles in his first start this year, yielding four runs in five innings on April 6 at Camden Yards.