The Blue Jays opened the 2024 campaign in the best possible way

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Three home runs, six great innings from José Berríos, three shutdown frames from the bullpen, and a win. Could the Blue Jays have had a better season opener? Coming off a divisive offseason, the Jays marched into the Trop and won their league-leading fifth straight season opener, and at least for now, may have silenced some of the doubters.

Let's start with Berríos. After Yandy Díaz took him deep in the Rays' first at-bat of the game, he was outstanding, striking out six and allowing two runs over six innings pitched. All of his pitches looked good, and for the most part, he located them well, only walking one batter. The sixth inning in particular was especially encouraging. After the Jays scored five in the top half, Berríos allowed two doubles and a walk to lead off the inning but worked his way out of the jam and prevented the Rays from getting back into it. After a disastrous season opener in 2021, it was good to see Berríos go out and build off a really strong 2023.

The offence was equally impressive, scoring eight runs on seven hits and seven walks. Zach Eflin held them in check through five innings, with their lone run coming from a George Springer home run, but they exploded for five runs in the sixth, highlighted by solo shots from Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr, the latter of which was a mammoth 450 feet. Bo Bichette put the cherry on top with a two-run double in the seventh, giving the Jays eight runs on the day. The offensive inconsistencies from the top of the lineup have been a massive source of frustration, so seeing them produce to start the year should quiet down some critics, at least for a few days.

Despite being up six runs by the time they were called upon, it was still good to see the bullpen shut down Tampa over the final three innings. Trevor Richards, Nate Pearson, and Tim Mayza all threw scoreless frames, and put an exclamation mark on a resounding Opening Day victory. Without their best relievers in Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson, the bullpen showed it can survive thanks to its depth.

In the grand scheme of things, does one win really matter that much? Not really, but the Blue Jays opening the season in such convincing fashion against a division rival certainly feels bigger than just one win. The organization as a whole had been under tons of scrutiny all offseason, so this performance felt like it was needed to earn a little bit of goodwill. Ultimately what matters is how far they go come fall, but for now, it's nice to start 1-0.