Blue Jays’ 2017 schedule promises to be an interesting one

Fans celebrate following the Blue Jays' ALDS Game 5 win over the Texas Rangers in 2015 at Rogers Centre. (Darren Calabrese/CP)

Major League Baseball announced the 2017 regular season schedule on Wednesday afternoon, and it’s an interesting one for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Jays open and close the season against the AL East, starting with a two-game series at Baltimore April 3 and 5, with the traditional off-day scheduled after opening day (for outdoor venues) in case of a rainout. They then head south to meet their kryptonite, the Tampa Bay Rays, for a four-game series at the Trop. Including this season’s 8-11 mark, the Blue Jays have won a season series against the Rays only once in the last decade (2014, 11-8).

Toronto finishes up with nine straight against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, with three games at Fenway Park in between its final home series (Sept. 22-24) against New York and the final weekend of the season, Sept.29 – Oct. 1 in the Bronx.

For the first time in club history, the Blue Jays’ home opener will be an interleague affair. The Jays welcome their once-major rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers, to kick off the Rogers Centre schedule with a two-game series April 11 and 12. The Orioles then come to town for four games and the Red Sox for three as the first homestand of the year is one of five in which three teams visit.

The Jays get their first taste of the west coast early on, jetting out to Anaheim for a four-game series that begins April 21. They’re back on the left coast for a week starting June 5 for three games each in Oakland and Seattle. Those “home games” at Safeco Field are on a weekend in 2017, which should bring joy to a great number of British Columbians, many of whom flood the Emerald City on an annual basis to cheer on their Jays.

After June 11, the Blue Jays are never more than one time zone away.

The interleague series (other than that weird four-game home-and-home, which next year is against the Atlanta Braves in mid-May) are against the National League Central, and that means an April trip to St. Louis, a May jaunt to Milwaukee and a visit to Wrigley Field for a three-game set with the Chicago Cubs from Aug. 18 to 20. The Brewers come to town, as mentioned, as do the Cincinnati Reds (May 29-31) and Pittsburgh Pirates (August 11-13).

Canada Day is the middle match of a three-game home series against the Red Sox, and the Blue Jays will be at Yankee Stadium for the fourth of July, where the pomp and circumstance will be off the charts as the Bronx Bombers celebrate the birthday of both the United States and their late owner, George Steinbrenner.

As far as the other holidays in the summer, Blue Jays fans have struck out.

The Jays have the day off for both Victoria Day (in the middle of a three-city road trip through Atlanta, Baltimore and Milwaukee) and Simcoe Day (on the way home to meet the Yankees after a weekend in Houston). On Labour Day, the Blue Jays are at Fenway Park – yes, they play two road series against the Red Sox in September. In fact, nine of the Jays’ final 35 games of the season will be against Boston.

A couple of other interesting notes: The Blue Jays have a run of 17 out of 23 games at home from July 24 to Aug. 17. The Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels come to town, then the Jays head out to Chicago (to play the Chicago White Sox as the non-waiver trade deadline passes) and to Houston for three games each before coming home to meet the Yankees, Pirates and Rays.

Also, they never go more than 13 games all season without seeing a team from the AL East.

The Blue Jays have only two three-city road trips all season, an eight-gamer through Atlanta, Baltimore and Milwaukee in May and a ten-game trip to Detroit, Boston and Cleveland that follows the all-star break.

As well, though who knows if the rivalry will have cooled off by then, with Jose Bautista potentially in another uniform, Rougned Odor and the Texas Rangers’ only visit to Toronto will be in late May, a three-game set starting on the 26th. The Jays head to Arlington in June.

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