The Toronto Blue Jays start the 2024 season today. Here’s what you need to know

The Toronto Blue Jays are back and will play their season opener in Tampa Bay against the Rays on Thursday afternoon.

First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 EST at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Thursday’s game marks the first of a 10-game road trip, including stops in New York and Houston before returning for the home opener on April 8 at Rogers Center in Toronto.

After being eliminated in the wild card playoff round by the Minnesota Twins last year, the Blue Jays will need to improve their offense if they want to come back stronger this season, according to Tiles today Podcast host Adam Peddle.

“We know that was kind of the Blue Jays’ Achilles heel last year,” Peddle said on CP24 Breakfast Tuesday morning. “If you look at what went well for the Blue Jays last year, it was the pitching staff.”

“We need runners in scoring position; they have to be able to tie the knots and push runners on second and third base,” he continued. “If they can do that, along with good pitching, you could easily see this team eclipse a 90-win mark.”

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt is congratulated after leaving the game with a lead during spring training action against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 in Dunedin, Florida. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Johnny Guinta, host of Gate 14 PodcastHe said he has high expectations for the Blue Jays this year, despite a relatively quiet offseason.

“We are talking about a team that was a favorite of many people for the World Series. [last season] and this year, everyone is doubting them due to the fact that they didn’t make many moves this offseason, so I hope they do the opposite.”

To achieve this, Guinta agreed that they will need to improve their offense.

“At the end of the day, if you want to be a good baseball team, the guys who are supposed to be good have to be good,” he said. “So Vladdy, Bo, Varsho, Springer… those guys have to be good, no matter what moves you make in the offseason, so I think this team is really banking on the bounce-back seasons of all their big dogs.” .

Blue Jays Starting Lineup, Squad

In Thursday’s game, Toronto’s José Berrios will start on the mound against Tampa Bay’s Zach Eflin.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will bat second behind leadoff hitter George Springer. In third place is shortstop Bo Bichette. The move puts Guerrero and Bichette behind Springer in most lineups last season.

Cleanup hitter Justin Turner will serve as designated hitter.

Romano, Swanson on IL

The Blue Jays are entering the season with several players on the injured list, including closer Jordan Romano and reliever Erik Swanson. Starting pitcher Alex Manoah is also expected to join them. Romano has a right elbow injury, while Swanson is out with inflammation in his right forearm.

On Wednesday, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said he is hopeful Romano and Swanson can return within a month.

“They both look great,” Atkins said. “They are recovering well. They feel strong. Except for the setbacks. I think this could be a minimum period.”

With files from The Associated Press.

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