DATE OPPONENT TIME Fri, 6/27 White Sox 7:07p Sat, 6/28 White Sox 1:07p Sun, 6/29 White Sox 1:07p Tue, 7/1 Brewers 1:07p Wed, 7/2 Brewers 12:37p Thu, 7/3 at Athletics 9:05p Fri, 7/4 at Athletics 4:05p Sat, 7/5 at Athletics 10:05p Sun, 7/6 at Athletics 4:05p Mon, 7/7 at Angels 10:05p Tue, 7/8 at Angels 10:05p Wed, 7/9 at Angels 3:35p Fri, 7/11 at Rays 7:10p Sat, 7/12 at Rays 4:10p Sun, 7/13 at Rays 1:40p Fri, 7/18 Rangers 7:07p Sat, 7/19 Rangers 1:07p Sun, 7/20 Rangers 1:07p Mon, 7/21 Red Sox 7:07p Tue, 7/22 Red Sox 7:07p Wed, 7/23 Red Sox 7:07p Thu, 7/24 Red Sox 12:37p Fri, 7/25 at Yankees 7:05p Sat, 7/26 at Yankees 1:05p Sun, 7/27 at Yankees 1:05p Mon, 7/28 at Red Sox 7:10p Tue, 7/29 at Red Sox 7:10p DATE OPPONENT TIME Wed, 7/30 at Red Sox 7:10p Thu, 7/31 at Astros 8:10p Fri, 8/1 at Astros 8:10p Sat, 8/2 at Astros 7:10p Sun, 8/3 at Astros 2:10p Tue, 8/5 Orioles 7:07p Wed, 8/6 Orioles 7:07p Thu, 8/7 Orioles 7:07p Fri, 8/8 Tigers 7:07p Sat, 8/9 Tigers 1:07p Sun, 8/10 Tigers 1:07p Mon, 8/11 at Mariners 10:10p Tue, 8/12 at Mariners 10:10p Wed, 8/13 at Mariners 10:10p Fri, 8/15 at White Sox 8:10p Sat, 8/16 at White Sox 7:10p Sun, 8/17 at White Sox 2:10p Tue, 8/19 at Brewers 8:10p Wed, 8/20 at Brewers 2:10p Fri, 8/22 Rays 7:07p Sat, 8/23 Rays 1:07p Sun, 8/24 Rays 1:07p Mon, 8/25 Red Sox 7:07p Tue, 8/26 Red Sox 7:07p Wed, 8/27 Red Sox 7:07p Fri, 8/29 Yankees 7:07p Sat, 8/30 Yankees 1:07p DATE OPPONENT TIME Sun, 8/31 Yankees 1:07p Tue, 9/2 at Rays 7:10p Wed, 9/3 at Rays 7:10p Thu, 9/4 at Rays 7:10p Fri, 9/5 at Red Sox 7:10p Sat, 9/6 at Red Sox 7:10p Sun, 9/7 at Red Sox 1:35p Mon, 9/8 Cubs 7:07p Tue, 9/9 Cubs 7:07p Wed, 9/10 Cubs 7:07p Fri, 9/12 Rays 7:07p Sat, 9/13 Rays 1:07p Sun, 9/14 Rays 1:07p Mon, 9/15 at Orioles 7:05p Tue, 9/16 at Orioles 7:05p Wed, 9/17 at Orioles 7:05p Thu, 9/18 at Yankees 7:05p Fri, 9/19 at Yankees 7:05p Sat, 9/20 at Yankees TBD Sun, 9/21 at Yankees 1:05p Mon, 9/22 Mariners 7:07p Tue, 9/23 Mariners 7:07p Wed, 9/24 Mariners 7:07p Thu, 9/25 Mariners 4:07p Fri, 9/26 Orioles 7:07p Sat, 9/27 Orioles 1:07p Sun, 9/28 Orioles 1:07p HITTING The Blue Jays need another big season from Bautista if they plan on contending. Just as important is a breakout season from Jose Reyes. He played in only 93 games last season because of injuries. When healthy, Reyes is a key component at the top of the Blue Jays’ lineup. Reyes hit .296 with 10 home runs, 37 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. Put that production through a full 162 games and you have a big-time leadoff hitter. Edwin Encarnacion is also a wild card; if he’s on track, it could give the Blue Jays a major lift. Encarnacion had 144 hits in 142 games last season. If you’re counting, that’s more than one per game. The Blue Jays’ bench is suspect, so for them to have success, the starting lineup must produce. FIELDING The Blue Jays’ fielding can use some improvement. They are always capable of hitting consistently, but fielding has been an issue. It needs to improve. Reyes tends to make the spectacular plays up the middle but struggles with the basics sometimes. The outfield is average at best and needs to take steps forward for this club to contend. Bautista, Colby Rasmus and Melky Cabrera can all hit. If they can improve in the field, the Blue Jays have a chance to win more games. STARTING PITCHING Dickey finished 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA on his way to NL Cy Young Award honors with the New York Mets in 2012. With the Blue Jays last season, however, Dickey was 14-13 with a 4.21 ERA. The Blue Jays have to be counting on the knuckleballer to find his stuff from ’12. Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow and J.A. Happ should be in the mix for the next three spots with Drew Hutchison or Dustin McGowan are likely candidates for the No. 5 spot. Starting pitching is a question mark and must be addressed. RELIEF PITCHING Casey Janssen looks to be the Blue Jays’ closer, but he has been banged up a bit. Janssen proved he was capable last season with a 4-1 record, a 2.56 ERA and 34 saves in 52 2/3 innings. Sergio Santos and Steve Delabar have been quite consistent and should fill large roles this season. Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup could be ready for increased work. If the starters struggle and don’t provide enough innings, the bullpen could wind up being overworked. And that would be a problem. MANAGING John Gibbons returned last season for his second stint as the Blue Jays’ manager. He took over during the 2004 season and stayed until ’08, producing two winning seasons. Last season produced just 74 victories. Gibbons is well liked by his players, but respect ultimately comes from winning and going to the playoffs. This year’s club will have to climb a number of hurdles to reach the playoffs. In such a difficult division, the task will be daunting. Gibbons is very creative, but he’ll need breakout seasons from many players for the Blue Jays to be playing in October and beyond.
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