GDB 1.0: Toronto Blue Jays open 2023 season on the road against St. Louis Cardinals
Photo credit:Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing5 months ago
The regular season is officially upon us and boy, is it so sweet.
Spring training felt like a battle to get through this year, but it was always a much-needed affair especially for a Blue Jays club debuting some new faces. It was a busy off-season in Toronto. They traded out Teoscar Hernandez for pitchers Adam Macko and Erik Swanson. They brought in outfielder Daulton Varsho while trading out fan favourite Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and promising catcher Gabriel Moreno. Chris Bassitt was signed to help solidify the Jays’ starting rotation, and other depth moves like signing Kevin Kiermaier and Brandon Belt helped round out the batting order and bench.
Couple it with the fact that some players, like Yusei Kikuchi, have come out the gate hot through Spring Training, the Jays’ renovations that will soon be debuted, and the fact that nobody will soon forget what the Seattle Mariners did to us last year, and all of a sudden, you’ve got some great storylines. This will undoubtedly be a fascinating year as the Jays’ season kicks off this afternoon.
After all, they’re +1200 favourites to win the World Series, the eighth best in the league according to Pointsbet Canada, and have the second-best odds to win the AL East this year at +185, right behind the Yankees. Go take a look at any major awards, too, and you’ll find Blue Jays’ names right there. Alek Manoah’s in the conversation for the Cy Young. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the AL MVP. Simply put: Vegas likes Toronto this year and rightfully so.
Last year was nothing short of a learning experience for the Jays. A young team at the plate, there were more than enough chances for this group to learn. Whether it was the highs and lows of a mid-season coaching change going from Charlie Montoyo to the familiar John Schneider, to a rough bullpen, to George Springer battling an elbow injury to ultimately falling 2-0 to the Seattle Mariners in the Wild Card, there should be a chip on Toronto’s shoulder.
First pitch: 4:10 p.m. EST
Weather: 18C. 18 MPH SSE winds. Mild temps, dry, winds a bit breezy should be blowing a bit right to left, a bit out to left. (RotoGrinders)
Odds: Blue Jays -115 — Cardinals -105. O/U: 7.5 (via PointsBet Canada)
Starting pitchers: TOR: Alek Manoah. STL: Miles Mikolas.
1. George Springer (R) RF
2. Bo Bichette (R) SS
3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (R) 1B
4. Dalton Varsho (L) LF
5. Alejandro Kirk (R) C
6. Brandon Belt (L) DH
7. Matt Chapman (R) 3B
8. Whit Merrifield (R) 2B
9. Kevin Kiermaier (L) CF
1. Brendan Donovan (L) 2B
2. Lars Nootbar (L) LF
3. Paul Goldschmidt (R) 1B
4. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
5. Wilson Contreras (R) C
6. Tyler O’Neill (R) CF
7. Nolan Gorman (L) DH
8. Jordan Walker (R) RF
9. Tommy Edman (S) SS
The Blue Jays will send Alek Manoah to the mound to kick off the season coming off a tremendous campaign that saw him finish third in AL Cy Young voting. Named to the All-Star team, he threw 196.2 innings last year posting a 2.24 ERA, .992 WHIP And a 3.35 FIP. The beauty of this season is there won’t be massive amounts of pressure on him. He’s going to be able to go out there, do his thing eating innings while knowing the likes of veterans Kevin Gausman and Chris Bassitt are right there behind him.
On the other side, the Cardinals are going with Miles Mikolas on opening day. The 34-year-old journeyman is coming off an All-Star campaign that saw him throw 202.1 innings with a 3.29 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a 3.87 FIP. He has one career game against the Jays going 6.2 IP on May 23rd last year. Mikolas allowed four hits and three earned runs while striking out five batters and walking two.
Need to bide the time until first pitch?
Tune into the latest edition of Blue Jays Nation Radio as the crew makes 23 predictions ahead of the 2023 season.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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