Blue Jays: Can the Jays benefit from the new MLB schedule?
One of the changes MLB is introducing for the 2023 season is a new, more balanced schedule in which every team plays every other team for at least one series.
As outlined in the official release on MLB.com, the league's reasoning is to create "more consistent opponent matchups as Clubs compete for Postseason berths." They also aim to create a more fan-friendly schedule so fans can see more teams and star players each season.
So how does this affect the Jays' chances in 2023? To find out, we'll look at changes in the level of competition they'll face and the travel ramifications of the new schedule.
What does the new schedule look like?
First, a quick primer on the schedule.
In 2023, each team will play 52 divisional games, down from 76. This means the Jays will match up against each AL East rival for 13 games, not the usual 19. Playing six fewer games against each of the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, and Orioles is a positive for the Jays, but we'll come back to that.
They'll also play 64 games versus American League non-divisional teams (the Central and West divisions), just a little bit less than the usual 66.
The most significant change is the 46 games against every National League team, an increase of 24 games over the 20 they would typically play versus their "natural rival" and a select division.
So, what does this new-look schedule mean for the level of competition the Jays will face this season?