The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays are hoping the third time is the charm. Having been to the American League Championship Series the last 2 years only to lose to AL Central teams, the Blue Jays hope to make it to the World Series and beyond.
The team has the pitching, at least the starting pitching, to make a run. The Jays lost a lot of hitting in Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders but still have quite a few familiar faces in the lineup.
Key additions: 1B/DH Kendrys Morales; OF Steve Pearce; RHP Joe Smith; LHP J.P. Howell; C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Key losses: 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion; OF Michael Saunders; RHP R.A. Dickey, C Dioner Navarro, RHP Joaquin Benoit, LHP Brett Cecil, RHP Scott Feldman; C Josh Thole
What will help the Blue Jays do better in 2017? 2B Devon Travis plays more. Jose Bautista hits for a better average while maintaining the power numbers. A healthy starting rotation. A bullpen that figures out its roles and performs to those roles.
In last-minute roster moves, the Blue Jays released outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr. and put Dalton Pompey and Roberto Osuna on the disabled list.
The Blue Jays announced an extension for John Gibbons. The Toronto manager's contract is guaranteed through 2019 with a 2020 team option.
The Toronto Blue Jays start out on the road, opening in Baltimore this afternoon at 3:05 pm. Marco Estrada will start today for Toronto. The finale of the 2-game series is Wednesday at 7:05 pm. The Jays then travel to Tampa Bay for a 4-game series with 7:10 pm starts on Thursday and Friday, 6:10 pm on Saturday, and a 1:10 pm matinee on Sunday.
The Blue Jays home opener is Tuesday, April 11 against the National League Milwaukee Brewers. The team will play a pair of 7:07 starts. Baltimore comes into Rogers Centre for a 4-game series with Thursday and Friday night games and weekend matinees. The homestand finishes up with Boston for a 3-game series.
MLB Extra Innings will have the first week of games through Sunday. If your preview only has home telecasts, then you won't get to see the Rogers Sportsnet feed.
Rogers Sportsnet will have all of the games, either on Sportsnet or Sportsnet One, mostly during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler will call the action with play-by-play help from Dan Shulman and Matt Devlin.
One change has Hazel Mae taking over as the full-time reporter at field level with some help from Arash Madani. Barry Davis, who has been with Sportsnet since 2002, is no longer with Rogers. Davis' 2016 appearances were limited to mostly road trips and little during the postseason.
Jerry Howarth is back for his 36th year on the radio play-by-play along with analyst Joe Siddall and Mike Wilner.
MLB Network announces its games on a monthly basis. Most games have a backup so other Blue Jays games could be available in your specific area. Then again, your area might get the backup game. Check your listings accordingly.
These are the national Toronto telecasts for April.
April 13 Baltimore 7p
April 18 Boston 7p
April 20 Boston 12:30p
April 22 @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 10p
ESPN/TBS/Fox/Fox Sports 1
We know ESPN will do at least 1 Toronto Blue Jays game. That won't be soon. The MLB on TBS schedule only had 13 Sundays after the All-Star Game break. Fox and Fox Sports 1 are theoretical MLB regional and national options. Fox and Fox Sports 1 have not been very friendly to the Toronto Blue Jays.
photo credit: Toronto Blue Jays/MLB