The Toronto Blue Jays schedule has been fairly balanced through the first two weeks of April. They faced some lower-ranked teams in the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics but also mixed in some tougher opponents and AL East rivals in the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, and most recently finished up a road trip that saw them face the Houston Astros for a three-game set this past weekend.
Last week is when the tougher part of the early months began when the Blue Jays embarked on a 20-game onslaught that sees no off-days and started off facing the Red Sox and Astros on the road. Heading into this week, the Jays will once again be facing off against Boston and Houston but this time in the friendly confines of the Rogers Centre.
After facing the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros last week, the Blue Jays will welcome both clubs to the Rogers Centre for round two early in the season.
The club walked away with series wins against both rival clubs, ending the road trip with a 4-2 record that almost saw a sweep in Houston if it wasn’t for the extra-inning heroics of Astros infielder Jeremy Pena. Almost every game was close this road trip, with five games being decided by just one run (three wins and two losses for the Jays) and only two games that saw the Jays tack on more than 5 runs.
Even though the games are now on home soil, the schedule does not get any easier. The Red Sox will be in town for a four-game series that could have some major impacts on the AL East division early into the season before Houston returns to begin a three-game affair beginning on Friday that should see some of the same pitchers the club faced last week given the quick turnarounds. Following those two series, the Blue Jays will then face the New York Yankees in Toronto before departing for a four-game matchup against the Cleveland Guardians before finally getting an off-day on May 9th.
A pretty tiring grind early into the season that is not made any easier by the fact that the Blue Jays have numerous starters on the IL in Danny Jansen, Teoscar Hernandez, and Hyun Jin Ryu, as well, the Jays will lose two pitchers when the rosters are trimmed back to 26 players on May 1st. Hernandez should hopefully be returning soon and Ryu will most likely be coming off the IL in two days when eligible, which could present more problems than answers should he continue to struggle.
One interesting thing to note with this upcoming homestand is seeing which players on the opposing teams will be coming North due to both Canada and the United States vaccination laws related to border crossings (it goes both ways).
The Rangers didn’t have any players sitting on the sidelines while a few Oakland A’s had to stay home (including former Jays reliever Kirby Snead), so it will be interesting to see how the lineups are affected due to personal choices. Red Sox starter Tanner Houck has already said he is not making the trip to Toronto while the Yankees have apparently all gotten vaccinated and will be able to make the trip.
Even though the Blue Jays are back home, the schedule continues with some strong opponents coming to town that will surely test the Jays early this season.