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Blue Jays – A brief history overview of starting the season on the road

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Photo credit:Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Shushkewich
2 months ago
The Toronto Blue Jays are starting another season on the road, the 29th time for the franchise since being added as an expansion team for the 1977 season.
The Blue Jays will begin the season on the road for the second consecutive season, partly due to the renovations underway at the Rogers Centre this past offseason and the year prior. By starting the campaign on the road, the organization has a bit of wiggle room for any late construction projects still to be tidied up within their home stadium before bringing baseball back North of the border.
The Blue Jays begin the 2024 season in Tampa Bay, facing the Rays in a four-game series on March 28th before travelling to Houston to face the Astros and finishing back in the AL East in a weekend series against the Yankees for a ten-game road trip. The Blue Jays will return to Toronto on April 8th to face the Seattle Mariners for a three-game series after ten games on then travelling
After going through the years of the Blue Jays starting the season on the road, here are a few tidbits that could be interesting for history buffs and those looking for some luck heading into a crucial year for the franchise.

Postseason aspirations have mostly started on the road for the Blue Jays

While the Blue Jays have not won a postseason game since 2016, the organization has ten playoff appearances since their inception and two World Series championships to boot coming back in the early 1990s.
The years the Jays have advanced to the postseason (bold denotes starting the season on the road):
1985, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2015, 2016, 2020, 2022, 2023
Looking back on the history books, the Blue Jays have just two seasons on record where they started the campaign at home and found a way to make the postseason.
The first year was 1991 when the Blue Jays faced the Boston Red Sox at home and lost 6-2, with Dave Stieb earning the loss in the contest. Later that year, Toronto would finish the campaign with a 91-71 record and won the AL East division before dropping the ALCS series to the Minnesota Twins.
The other came in 2022 when the Blue Jays hosted the Texas Rangers and won in a come-from-behind fashion by a score of 10-8. Jays starter José Berríos was unable to get out of the first inning while allowing four runs and the team was able to claw their way back into the game by scoring runs from the fourth inning on, with Jordan Romano locking down the save.
The remaining series have all started on the road, with the Jays facing Kansas City (1985 & 1989), Detroit (1992), Seattle (1993), New York (2015), Tampa (2020) and St. Louis (2023). Their record stands at 6-2, with the Jays losing the 1985 and 1993 home openers.

Current three-game road win streak

Since the 2020 season, the Blue Jays have made three of their last four Opening Day starts away from Toronto. The last Opening Day start at the Rogers Centre came back in 2022, as mentioned previously.
Since 2020, the Blue Jays have fared well when starting the season on the road:
2020: vs. Tampa Bay Rays (6-4) – Jays win
2021: vs. New York Yankees (3-2) – Jays win in extras
2023: vs. St. Louis Cardinals (10-9) – Jays win
Their last road loss to start the year came back in 2017 when the Jays dropped a 3-2 decision to the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Tied at 2-2 heading into the 11th inning, Jays reliever Jason Grilli entered the game and gave up a home run to Mark Trumbo, with the Orioles winning via a walk-off.
Before that loss in Baltimore, the Jays had won their two previous contests on the road, beating the Yankees in 2015 and the Rays in 2016.
Should the Blue Jays win their game against Tampa on Thursday, it would be the first time the franchise has won four consecutive road wins on Opening Day. They have tied with three wins before (2002, 2005, 2007) but have not found a fourth consecutive road win to open the season.

History against Tampa is not a cause for concern

Since 1977, the Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays have faced each other four times down in Florida to start the year (2005, 2014, 2016, 2020).
While Toronto has a checkered history at Tropicana Field, any past issues with winning games against Tampa in their home stadium escape them when it comes to Opening Day.
The Blue Jays currently hold the advantage over their AL East rival at 3-1 when the Rays are the home team. The only loss for the Jays came in 2014 when former Jays pitcher David Price held Toronto batters to just two runs through 7 1/3 innings while knuckleballer R.A. Dickey earned the loss in the 9-2 affair.
As well, the Rays got the last laugh in the 2020 season, when the Jays took the home opener but Tampa swept the Blue Jays in the AL Wild Card later that season (at Tropicana Field) and eventually advanced to the World Series before falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The quick hits

  • Current record on the road for Opening Day: 14-14
  • The Blue Jays have two walk-off road win losses on Opening Day – Seattle (1984) & Texas (2010)
  • Most runs scored on a road game Opening Day: 2002 – Blue Jays win 12-11 over the Boston Red Sox
    • A sac fly by Darrin Fletcher in the ninth inning gave the Blue Jays the lead
    • Kelvim Escobar earned the save

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