Blue Jays: 2023 schedule release reactions and outlook

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 28: (R-L) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27, Teoscar Hernandez #37 and George Springer #4 of the Toronto Blue Jays look on from the dugout as they play the Los Angeles Angels in the seventh inning during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on August 28, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 28: (R-L) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27, Teoscar Hernandez #37 and George Springer #4 of the Toronto Blue Jays look on from the dugout as they play the Los Angeles Angels in the seventh inning during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on August 28, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Blue Jays got their first look at next season’s layout of games when the 2023 MLB schedule was released this past Wednesday.

There are sweeping changes across the league as all teams will play against all 29 other teams for the first time ever. The schedule is also much more balanced with 13 games against divisional opponents, compared to the standard 19.

The Jays still have their work cut out for the goals they want to accomplish this season, but it’s not too early to take a detailed look at the timetable of games that awaits the team next year.

Blue Jays: Road-heavy start

The first thing I noticed when taking a quick look at next year’s slate is that the Blue Jays are playing the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day. That’s the first time that I can recall the team starting a campaign against a National League opponent.

A closer look revealed that not only are they starting off on the road against an NL team, but that the season starts on a 10-game road trip. Following a three-game set in Busch Stadium, the Jays will play four in Kaufman Stadium against the Royals before heading to L.A. for a trio of games versus the Angels.

Blue Jays
ST LOUIS, MO – MAY 24: Danny Jansen #9 of the Toronto Blue Jays rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on May 24, 2022, in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images) /

The Home Opener will be on April 11th, hosting the Detroit Tigers which will be part of a six-game homestand that also includes a series with the Rays. Overall, 16 of the first 22 games will be on the road, although that evens out with a seven-game homestand to end the month of April.

Conversely, only six of the final 22 games will be played away from Rogers Centre.

Blue Jays: Change is good?

The other surprising thing about the first month is that the series against the Rays is the only set of divisional games of the first 28 games. May is a much different story, with 15 games scheduled with AL East rivals.

It’s always tough playing nearly half your schedule against the Yankees, the Red Sox, (maybe not so much this year), the Rays, and the pesky Orioles.  With the total number of matchups being deceased from 76 games to 52 in 2023, it’ll be interesting to see if the Jays can take advantage of a more balanced setup.

This year, in 51 games played within the division so far, the Blue Jays are 27-24 but that doesn’t tell the whole story. They’ve beaten up on Boston to the tune of a 13-3 record and have done well to nearly even their season series with the Yankees at 7-9. They still have 19 combined games against the Rays and Orioles, a stretch that represents over half of the remaining sked and one that will likely determine the team’s final place in the standings.

Blue Jays: More time in the Senior Circuit

With fewer games played within the division, another shake-up to the arrangement of games is many more contests against National League opponents or Interleague play. Purists may scoff at this, but playing against every other team in their respective leagues is something the NBA and NHL have done for years.

Blue Jays
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 25: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 25, 2021, in New York City. The Mets defeated the Blue Jays 5-4. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Teams will go from 20 interleague games to 46, a huge increase. The Jays have usually fared well in games versus the NL, but with the universal DH now in effect throughout baseball, that advantage may not be as pronounced as before. Toronto went 14-6 in Interleague play in 2021, and they are 7-5 so far this year with series against the Cubs, Pirates, and Phillies still to come.

Blue Jays: Every game counts

With the 52 division games and 46 Interleague games, that means the remaining 64 showdowns will be facing other teams in the American League, from the AL Central and AL West, two divisions that have struggled in recent years.

Playing well against the Tigers, A’s, and Royals will be just as important as matchups with the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox. This team missed out on the AL wild-card by one game last season so they understand the importance of each game.

Next. Jays scheduled to face former fan favourite when Cubs come to town. dark

With other potential changes like anti-shift rules, bigger bases, and pitch clock coming into effect next season, the Blue Jays need to take advantage of the new-look MLB in 2023 in order to have their most successful season possible.