This season, the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing the New York Yankees on Opening Day, spending their first two series on the road (visiting the Texas Rangers next) before returning back to Dunedin for their 2021 home opener on April 8th against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Blue Jays became a major league baseball team in 1977, the result of MLB awarding the city of Toronto an expansion team, with the organization’s moniker being developed through a ‘name the team’ contest. Throughout their history, the Blue Jays have made the playoffs on eight different occasions, winning the World Series in 1992 and 1993.
With the excitement of this past off-season regarding the signing of various free agents and the organization coming out of a rebuild, this article examines different facts regarding the franchise’s history when it comes to Opening Day and whether this history may be on their side when they face the Yankees on April 1st.
Before the team takes the field today, the Blue Jays Opening Day record stands at 22-22, playing 30 Opening Day games on the road compared to the 14 games at home.
*All research and stats were found using Baseball-Reference and does not include today’s game*
Since 1977, the Jays have faced 13 different teams on Opening Day.
- 7 times: Detroit Tigers (3-4)
- 5 times: Kansas City Royals (3-2)
- 4 times: Minnesota Twins (3-1); New York Yankees (1-3); Texas Rangers (1-3); Tampa Bay Rays (3-1)
- 3 times: Boston Red Sox (2-1); Chicago White Sox (2-1); Cleveland Indians (2-1); Seattle Mariners (0-3)
- 2 times: Oakland Athletics (2-0)
- 1 time: Baltimore Orioles (0-1); Milwaukee Brewers (0-1)
In terms of consecutive wins, the Blue Jays have had four separate occasions where they won three Opening Day games consecutively (1987-1989, 1994-1996, 2000 -2002, and 2005-2007).
On the flip side, the worst stretch of Opening Day consecutive losses spans from 1978-1982, where they lost five games in a row against the Tigers (x2), Royals, Mariners, and Brewers.
Does the Day Matter?
Looking at the days of the week, one wonders if the specific day or specific date has something to do with how the Blue Jays perform on Opening Day.
Day of the Week
- Monday: 12-8
- Tuesday: 2-6
- Wednesday: 2-2
- Thursday: 2-4
- Friday: 2-2
- Saturday: 0-0
- Sunday: 2-0
Looking at the above stats, the Blue Jays have mostly started their seasons on a Monday, winning 60% of games against their opponents. The organization has never played an Opening Day game on a Sunday and has the worst record when they start their season on a Tuesday, winning only 25% of these games.
When it comes to the organization starting the season on April 1st, the Blue Jays have played seven games on this date (1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2008, and 2011). Their record for April 1st Opening Day games is 5-2, beating the Twins (x2), Red Sox, Athletics, and Rangers while losing to the Yankees and the White Sox.
Home vs Away
Looking at the statistics, one wonders if the Blue Jays perform better on Opening Day at home versus starting the season on the road (14 home games compared to 30 away games).
Baltimore Orioles: Home (0-0) Away (0-1)
Boston Red Sox: Home (0-1) Away (2-0)
Chicago White Sox: Home (2-0) Away (0-1)
Cleveland Indians: Home (1-1) Away (1-0)
Detroit Tigers: Home (1-1) Away (2-3)
Kansas City Royals: Home (1-0) Away (2-2)
Milwaukee Brewers: Home (0-1) Away (0-0)
Minnesota Twins: Home (3-0) Away (0-1)
New York Yankees: Home (0-1) Away (1-2)
Oakland Athletics: Home (0-0) Away (2-0)
Seattle Mariners: Home (0-0) Away (0-3)
Texas Rangers: Home (1-0) Away (0-3)
Tampa Bay Rays: Home (0-0) Away (3-1)
The organization has a 9-5 record when they begin the season at home compared to a 13-17 record when they begin the year on the road.
Innaugural season (1977): Blue Jays win 9-5 against the Chicago White Sox
First post-season birth (1985): Blue Jays lose 2-1 against the Kansas City Royals
Second post-season (1989): Blue Jays win 4-3 against the Kansas City Royals
Third post-season (1991): Blue Jays lose 6-2 against the Boston Red Sox
World Series Win (1992): Blue Jays win 4-2 against the Detroit Tigers
Second World Series Win (1993): Blue Jays lose 8-1 against the Seattle Mariners
Sixth post-season (2015): Blue Jays win 6-1 against the New York Yankees
Seventh post-season (2016): Blue Jays win 5-3 against the Tampa Bay Rays
Eighth post-season (2020): Blue Jays win 6-4 against the Tampa Bay Rays
Against the New York Yankees
Since entering the league in 1977, the Toronto Blue Jays have played four Opening Day games against the New York Yankees:
2003: Jays lose 8-4 in New York City on Monday, March 31st; losing pitcher was Roy Halladay
2008: Jays lose 3-2 in New York City on Tuesday, April 1st; losing pitcher was Roy Halladay
2015: Jays win 6-1 in New York City on Monday, April 6th; winning pitcher was Drew Hutchinson
2018: Jays lose 6-1 in Toronto on Thursday, March 29; Losing pitcher was J.A. Happ
Historically, the Blue Jays have been on the losing side when they face the New York Yankees on Opening Day.
They have a 1-2 record when facing the Yankees in New York and have been outscored 18 to 13 when facing the Bronx Bombers. The Jays have also lost their only April 1st game against the Yankees and also lost their only Thursday Opening Day game against them as well. Considering the game is happening on Thursday, April 1st, history is unfortunately not on the Blue Jays side when they head into New York City.
Fun Facts about Blue Jays and Opening Day:
- Pitcher Bill Singer made the first start for the Blue Jays on April 7, 1977. Jerry Johnson would secure the win that day
- Roy Halladay made the most Opening Day starts for the franchise with seven (2003-2009)
- Since 2015, the Blue Jays have used five different pitchers for Opening Day (Drew Hutchinson, Marcus Stroman(x2), Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, and Hyun-Jin Ryu)
- Roger Clemens started one Opening Day game for the Blue Jays (1998), winning the game against the Minnesota Twins. He surrendered one earned run with three walks and three strikeouts over seven innings
- The first player to hit a home run on Opening Day was Doug Ault during the Blue Jays first-ever game (he would hit two that day). He is credited with the Blue Jays first hit, home run, and RBI in franchise history.
- The last player to hit a home run on Opening Day was Cavan Biggio last season (2020) against the Tampa Bay Rays and pitcher Charlie Morton