Toronto showed in its last series in Milwaukee that its offense isn't the problem -- the team hit 10 home runs over the three-game set, and is one of only two teams, along with the Yankees, to hit at least 100 homers on the year. Furthermore, the Blue Jays' offense ranks among the top five in the Majors in runs scored.
"We've got to come through as an offensive group and put up a couple more runs than the usual," said Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, who hit three homers in the Milwaukee series and has 22 on the year. "Hopefully that's a good enough cushion for the guys that are filling in [the starting rotation] that might be out of their role or in a situation they haven't been before."
After turning to spot starters -- following Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison being placed on the disabled list in the span of a week -- to get them through their series with the Brewers, things won't be much easier for the Blue Jays when they begins a weekend series in Miami.
But then again, the Marlins aren't the same team that cruised past its competition a month ago.
After posting a record-setting 21 wins in May, Miami has struggled to come close to that success in June.
After a 6-5 loss to the Red Sox on Thursday, the Marlins are now 4-14 in the month, which dropped them to fourth place in the National League East after sitting in second -- and just a half-game back of the Nationals -- on the last day of May.
Miami will send right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who is having another strong season despite a 3-5 record, to the mound for the series opener.
Sanchez, who was one of three pitchers in the Majors to strike out more than 200 batters in less than 200 innings in 2011, has continued to rack up the punchouts to help complement a solid 3.47 ERA. The 28-year-old has struggled in June, however, sporting a 6.63 ERA after posting sub-3.00 ERAs in each of the first two months of the season. He hasn't won in three June starts.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was up front on Thursday about his desire for a strong start from Sanchez.
"I always worry about pitching. As long as we're pitching good we're going to have a chance," Guillen said. "Now it's a little different. We're not pitching well and we have people who can pitch. We need the offense to create more positive thought and enthusiasm in the game. When you score some runs you feel good about yourself. Right now, we are doing that, we're just not pitching well."
Toronto will counter with lefty Ricky Romero, who, despite a 7-1 record, sports a 4.28 ERA and is among the league leaders in walks with 42. The Blue Jays, however, will be happy to send Romero to the mound after calling up two Minor Leaguers to start their last two games against the Brewers.
Blue Jays: Roster shakeup continues
Toronto has made a flurry of moves this season, a trend that continued Thursday.
The Blue Jays received right-handed pitcher Sean O'Sullivan from the Royals for cash considerations on Thursday.
The move adds another arm to a Blue Jays pitching staff that has been plagued by injuries this season. Right-hander Joel Carreno was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to make an emergency start for Wednesday's finale against the Brewers, and reliever David Pauley was claimed off waivers from the Angels as well on Wednesday.
O'Sullivan was a part of Kansas City's starting rotation in 2010 and '11, but he failed to make the Royals' staff in Spring Training. The 24-year-old was optioned to Triple-A Omaha, where he was 5-4 with a 6.75 ERA in 17 games including five starts.
In 43 career appearances, O'Sullivan is 10-14 with a 6.13 ERA.
Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, who blasted his 20th homer in Wednesday's loss to the Brewers, have more home runs than any duo in baseball. The pair of Dominicans are the only teammates who have hit at least 20 homers on the season. Encarnacion homered in each game during the Milwaukee series.
Brett Lawrie left Wednesday's contest against the Brewers with what was initially described as right knee soreness. Lawrie injured himself sliding into third base in the seventh inning.
Marlins: Owner Loria holds team meeting
Marlins owner and CEO Jeffrey Loria held a 15-minute team meeting with his club before Thursday's game in Boston. Loria said he couldn't sleep after the Marlins' 15-5 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday and felt the need to address the team.
"I wanted them to look back at when they first started discovering that they liked baseball and they discovered that they could play baseball and then they discovered that they could play it really well," Loria said. "And then they could become professionals and what it meant to them, to start thinking about that for a few moments each day."
This is the second team meeting the Marlins have had this month, as manager Ozzie Guillen held on with his players during the homestand before Miami's current six-game road trip.
Loria assured he is not angry with anybody and is hoping his message got through to the team.
"It may resonate with a few guys, it may resonate with many, but eventually they'll think about it," Loria said. "Finally, I can't hit for them, I can't field for them and I can't pitch for them, but I do my part."
The Marlins recalled left-hander Mike Dunn from Triple-A New Orleans and optioned Chris Hatcher to the Zephyrs on Thursday. Dunn appeared in 12 games with Miami earlier this season and had a 9.58 ERA in 12 games with 17 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings.
Austin Kearns is the only Marlins player to face Romero. He is 1-for-10 with two walks lifetime against the southpaw.
Toronto's up-the-middle tandem of Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson are both 5-for-20 in their careers against Sanchez. Johnson is the only current Blue Jays player that has taken him deep.