Blue Jays Road Schedule: Unusual opponents the Jays will face in 2023
8 months ago
Coming into the 2023 season, the Toronto Blue Jays’ schedule is going to look a bit different compared to years prior. Every team in the MLB is scheduled to face each other at least once this year, meaning fewer AL East division games for the Blue Jays and an increase in interleague play, with Toronto heading across the country to ballparks that they have not visited in years.
This also means numerous clubs will be heading to the Rogers Centre this year, including star-studded powerhouse clubs like the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves amongst others (I covered this topic earlier, which you can find here).
Let’s look at the Blue Jays’ road schedule and the unusual opponents the squad will face this year.
St. Louis Cardinals – March 30th to April 2nd
To start the 2023 season, the Blue Jays will head out for a 10-game road trip, beginning in St. Louis for a three-game series. As is customary, the Jays and Cardinals will begin the season starting on Thursday and have an off-day Friday (in the event of a rainout) and then finish out the weekend at Busch Stadium. This road trip to start the year is likely due to the Rogers Centre construction that has been going on all offseason, likely giving the club a bit of a buffer window into the season.
Hypocritically to the title of the article, the Blue Jays went to St. Louis last season and the Cardinals visited the Rogers Centre in 2022 but I figured I would include this matchup because it’s the first series of the year and the Jays are in for a pretty tough opening weekend against the Cardinals.
Last season, the Jays and Cardinals split the season series at two wins apiece and the Cardinals squad suffered a similar playoff fate as the Blue Jays, dropping two games to the Phillies in the Wild Card series. Looking at the Cardinals roster, they are not short on talent, with a lineup that includes 2022 NL MVP and Hank Aaron Award winner Paul Goldschmidt, 2022 Platinum Glove Award winner Nolan Arenado, Tommy Edman, Lars Nootbar, and Canadian outfielder Tyler O’Neill. The Cardinals will be without longtime backstop Yadier Molina, who retired after last season but the front office brought in Willson Contreras to take over in his absence.
The rotation also has some experience and some healthy pitchers back in the mix in Jack Flaherty and Steven Matz while Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, and Jordan Montgomery round out the starting five.
For the Blue Jays, one of the biggest questions that remains heading into the season is who will make the Opening Day start, with speculation being that it is between Alek Manoah or Kevin Gausman to get the nod. It will also be interesting if the Jays will use José Berríos in this series as the third starter or potentially save him for the Kansas City Royals.
Any Jays fans heading to St. Louis will be able to collect a Pujols/Molina pitching bobblehead promotion as well as a long sleeve Cardinals pullover.
New York Mets – June 2nd to June 4th
The Blue Jays haven’t faced the New York Mets at Citi Field since mid-July 2021, with this series being one of their last road trips before returning back to the Rogers Centre after a brief year-and-a-half hiatus due to COVID-19. In that three-game series, the Jays dropped two against the Mets, getting shut out in their first game.
The Mets have only gotten better since that series, adding numerous players and free agents in José Quintana, Max Scherzer, Kodai Senga, Justin Verlander, and Starling Marte (amongst others). The club already boasts Carlos Carrasco, Edwin Díaz, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo along with one of the top prospects in the game in catcher Francisco Álvarez. Fans may remember Nimmo from the offseason, as the Jays were heavily tied to the outfielder in free agency before he returned to New York.
This road trip is just three games long for the Jays, sandwiched between a quick home series against the Milwaukee Brewers and then a seven-game homestead that brings in the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins.
Fans who make the trip to Queens for this trip will get to see the 2023 Mets Hall of Fame induction ceremony as well as Pete Alonso-inspired sunglasses on the Sunday contest.
Miami Marlins – June 19th to June 21st
Similar to the Mets, it will be almost two years to the day when the Blue Jays head back to southern Florida to face the Miami Marlins. In 2021, the Jays and Marlins faced off four times and Toronto made a clean sweep, including a walk-off sac fly off the bat of Joe Panik, with current Blue Jays reliever Yimi Garcia earning the loss.
The Miami Marlins added some veteran talent this offseason, including Johnny Cueto, Jean Segura, Yuli Gurriel (MiLB), and José Iglesias (MiLB) while also trading for A.J. Puk, Jacob Amaya, and Luis Arraez to bolster the infield corps and add former top prospect in Puk. On the mound, the Marlins boast the 2022 NL Cy Young Award Winner in Sandy Alcantara and a deep rotation that includes Cueto, Jesús Luzardo, and Edward Cabrera alongside top prospects Eury Pérez and Max Meyer.
The Blue Jays could also potentially face a former top prospect in Jordan Groshans, who was traded last offseason to the Marlins in exchange for Anthony Bass and Zach Pop. The righty-batter finished the 2022 season in the big leagues but after the offseason acquisitions, he may be forced to start the year in AAA or in a bench capacity.
Los Angeles Dodgers – July 24th to July 26th
The Blue Jays and the Dodgers have not squared off since August 2019 at Dodger Stadium, with Los Angeles sweeping a younger Jays squad that was just getting their feet wet at the big league level. While the first game was a 16-3 blowout for Los Angeles, the Dodgers would walk off Toronto the following two games via a Max Muncy solo home run off Tim Mayza and reliever Derek Law blowing a 2-0 lead in the ninth for the Jays.
Fast forward to 2023, and the Dodgers’ squad is still one of the strongest in the league even after losing key players like Trea Turner (free agency) and Gavin Lux (ACL injury). It also is yet to be seen whether Walker Buehler will return in 2023 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last season, with the right-hander unlikely to pitch against the Jays in late July.
Los Angeles still has some very talented arms in Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías, Tony Gonslin, and newly acquired Noah Syndergaard to throw at the Jays. Behind the plate is the very talented Will Smith while first baseman Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, J.D. Martinez, and Mookie Betts add some pop throughout the entire lineup.
This series will be interesting to watch as it will also be right near what is likely to be the July 31 trade deadline (yet to be confirmed), so both squads could be making some moves at the time and there could be some interesting trade discussions going on.
Cincinnati Reds – August 18th to August 20th
Last year Cincinnati came North of the border in mid-May, facing the Blue Jays for a three-game set that saw the Jays winning two of three with Hyun Jin Ryu and Alek Manoah earning the wins in the low-scoring affairs. Canadian baseball fans were able to see Toronto’s own Joey Votto, a 16-year veteran with the Reds squad and some of the talented arms in the Reds’ pitching staff.
This season, the Blue Jays will be heading to Cincinnati instead, with this being the first time since 2014 that Toronto will be heading to Great American Ball Park, the longest time away from a visiting ballpark that I have seen while doing this article.
The Reds have a talented rotation consisting of Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, and Nick Lodolo while boasting some talented position players alongside Votto in Jonathan India, Nick Senzel, and Wil Myers. Overall, the Reds aren’t projected to be the strongest team in the NL Central this season but have a strong position prospect core coming up the pipeline in Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, Edwin Arroyo, and Cam Collier in the next few seasons.
Fans attending the Saturday contest could receive a Jonathan India bobblehead, which will be given while supplies last.
Colorado Rockies – September 1st to September 3rd
The Blue Jays and the Colorado Rockies have not faced off against each other since late May/early June 2019, with the Rockies sweeping the Blue Jays across three games.
While the likes of Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado, and Jon Gray are no longer with the Rockies, Colorado still has some strong forces in the lineup and the rotation. Kyle Freeland, Germán Márquez, and Antonio Senzatela will lead the squad on the mound with a top reliever in Daniel Bard lingering in the bullpen, who just inked a two-year contract extension. Blue Jays fans may also get to see former southpaw Brad Hand, as he signed with the Rockies earlier this offseason.
Kris Bryant will be coming into the 2023 season healthy after a disappointing inaugural campaign with the Rockies while Charlie Blackmon, Brendan Rogers, C.J. Cron, Michael Toglia, and Ryan McMahon round out the prominent names from the lineup. Similar to the Reds, Colorado will have some top prospects looking to find space on the active roster in Ezequiel Tovar and Zac Veen, both of whom could be in the lineup when the Jays come to town in early September.
Fans who attend the September 2nd game could receive a Charlie Blackmon bobblehead as long as they are one of the first 15,000 fans in the building.
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