We did it everyone! We made it through another offseason. Congratulations!!
The Blue Jays begin the season in the unenviable position of staring down a 10 game road trip, but these games do need to be played eventually. Might as well get them done while everyone is fully rested.
The first stop on this season opening road trip is in St. Louis, where the Cardinals will host the Blue Jays for three games. The season opener goes today at 4:10 ET.
Blue Jays’ Starter
Alek Manoah has earned his first career Opening Day start after a great sophomore season in 2022. Through 31 starts last season, Manoah went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA and earned himself a third place finish in the Cy Young Voting, plus a distant 17th place in the MVP voting. His 2.24 ERA was the fourth best mark in all of baseball while the 16 wins tied him with Yu Darvish for the fifth most.
Chris Black has a great thread on Manoah and his matchup with the Cardinals on Twitter, so instead of trying to break it down here, I encourage you to read through the whole 10 tweet thread.
Fastball command is a bit of a lost art in today's MLB.— Chris Black (@DownToBlack) March 29, 2023
For context, here are the best fastball seasons by a pitcher as young as Manoah since 2008.
That's an awesome group for Manoah to be included in... and it speaks to just how great he's been. pic.twitter.com/7dXDSO4w7H
Veteran right hander Miles Mikolas gets the ball for the Cardinals after Adam Wainwright landed on the IL to start the season. That injury robbed Wainwright of his seventh career Opening Day start, sporadically doing so for the Cardinals since 2009. For Mikolas, this will be his second Opening Day nod, after also starting for the Cardinals in their 2019 opener.
The last time many of us watched Mikolas pitch, he threw 4 innings of relief for the USA team in their 14-2 win over Cuba in the game that got the Americans into the final. He picked up the hold in that game, pitching 4 innings while allowing 1 run on 6 hits, striking out 3.
Mikolas cracked the 200 inning plateau for the second time in his career last season, throwing the third most in baseball with 202.1 innings. In those innings, he went 12-13 with a 3.29 ERA, although all of the ERA estimators come out in the 3.80s. Mikolas is very much a pitch to contact guy, striking out just 6.81 batters per 9 innings last season. Surprisingly, his batted ball stats aren’t that great either, allowing a lot of barreled up balls and a pretty high expected average against him. But he’s still successful, thanks to a strong Cardinals’ defense, and a stinginess on allowing walks.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
It should be an exciting season for the Blue Jays, and a lot of the excitement will come from the offense. After finishing last year as the fourth most scoring offense at 4.78 runs per game, they’re currently projected as the second best offense this season, scoring 4.66 runs per game.
The post-Yadier Molina era officially starts today for the Cardinals, as they start the season without Yadi behind the plate for the first time since Mike Matheny was back there in 2004.
The Cardinals project as a pretty strong offense this season, projected to score 4.49 runs per game, the eighth most in all of baseball. They’re loaded throughout with some very exciting young bats and MVP level veterans,
Find the Link
Find the link between Busch Stadium, and both old and new Yankee Stadium.