2023 Blue Jays Opening Day live blog: Toronto begins new MLB season vs. Cardinals

Alek Manoah gets the start as the Blue Jays battle the Cardinals on Opening Day. Follow along with all the action.

The Blue Jays take on the Cardinals in the first game of the 2023 season. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
The Blue Jays take on the Cardinals in the first game of the 2023 season. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

After a long winter, the 2023 Toronto Blue Jays season has finally arrived. Toronto kicks off its campaign with a lengthy road trip while the Rogers Centre renovations finish up, with the club beginning its season Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah takes the mound against Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas, with first pitch set for 4:10 p.m. ET.

Here's manager John Schneider's batting order and how Toronto lines up behind Manoah.

Blue Jays' Opening Day lineup

RF: George Springer

SS: Bo Bichette

1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

LF: Daulton Varsho

C: Alejandro Kirk

DH: Brandon Belt

3B: Matt Chapman

2B: Whit Merrifield

CF: Kevin Kiermaier

You can follow along with all the action from Busch Stadium using our live blog:

Who is on Toronto's Opening Day roster?


Danny Jansen

Alejandro Kirk


Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Brandon Belt

Santiago Espinal

Bo Bichette

Matt Chapman

Whit Merrifield

Cavan Biggio


George Springer

Daulton Varsho

Kevin Kiermaier

Nathan Lukes

Starting Pitchers

Alek Manoah

Kevin Gausman

Chris Bassitt

Jose Berrios

Yusei Kikuchi

Relief Pitchers

Jordan Romano

Yimi Garcia

Anthony Bass

Erik Swanson

Tim Mayza

Adam Cimber

Trevor Richards

Zach Pop

Are the Blue Jays expected to be good? Will they make the playoffs?

It would be a big surprise if the Blue Jays missed the postseason in 2023. They finished second in the American League East last year and earned the top wild-card spot. Their roster is a lot different than it was in 2022 but the team still looks like one of MLB's best.

The New York Yankees are once again favoured to win the division, but popular website FanGraphs gives Toronto a 70.8 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Who are the Blue Jays' biggest stars?

Toronto's best players remain the same as last year. First baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the team's top slugger and could be in the running for MVP if he plays up to his full potential. He finished second in MVP voting in 2021 and still hit more than 30 home runs in what was considered a disappointing 2022 season.

Shortstop Bo Bichette is another young star who also ranks among the best players in the majors. He just turned 25 and has led the American League in hits in back-to-back years. Look for him to hit around .300 and blast 25-30 home runs this year.

On the pitching side, right-handers Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman lead the way for the starters. Both of them could easily be the best pitcher on other teams and it wouldn't be surprising to see either one in contention for the American League Cy Young award, which is given to the top pitcher in the league.

Markham, Ont., native Jordan Romano is still the Blue Jays' closer and is becoming one of baseball's best relief pitchers. He's been dominant in each of the past two seasons and was named an All-Star for the first time in his career in 2022.

Who are the new Blue Jays to know?

The Blue Jays made a major splash right before Christmas when they acquired outfielder Daulton Varsho from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Varsho is an exceptional defensive outfielder and brings an extra element of speed to the Blue Jays. He also has plenty of power offensively but posts low batting averages and is prone to striking out.

Toronto also signed two veteran players in first baseman Brandon Belt and outfielder Kevin Kiermaier. Belt won two World Series rings with the San Francisco Giants and can hit for both power and a high batting average when healthy. Kiermaier is another defence/speed specialist who has won three Gold Gloves over his career with the rival Tampa Bay Rays.

Chris Bassitt was the big addition on the starting pitching front, as he signed a three-year, $63-million deal in the winter. His ceiling isn't as high as Manoah or Gausman's, but he has been one of the most consistent starters in the majors since 2015.

In the bullpen, Erik Swanson was acquired from the Seattle Mariners to give manager John Schneider another late-inning weapon in front of Romano. Swanson had the best season of his career in 2022 and has the ability to strike lots of batters out.

Which players aren't on the Blue Jays anymore?

MLB rosters are constantly in flux but four players stand out as the biggest offseason losses for the Blue Jays. Fan favourites Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. were both traded (in the Swanson and Varsho trades, respectively) as Toronto overhauled its outfield to prioritize defence. Top prospect Gabriel Moreno was also sent to Arizona in the deal for Varsho.

Ross Stripling, who started in the bullpen last season but stepped in and thrived as a starter midway through the year, also left via free agency. The right-hander opted to sign with the Giants.