Don't fall in love with the Blue Jays just yet

Updated: April 14, 2009

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

The Blue Jays are off to a good start. The question is whether they can sustain that success.

BLUE JAYS' AREAS OF CONCERN

Despite their strong start, I don't think the Blue Jays are in much danger of making the playoffs from the American League East. They have major issues in their rotation, with three unproven guys at the third, fourth and fifth spots. B.J. Ryan, their closer, really struggled during spring training and has continued to struggle now that the season is underway.

It never bodes well when your rotation is unproven and your closer has some arm strength issues this early on. That's why I'm not convinced the Blue Jays are up for competing in this division, one of the toughest in baseball.

However, they've been great so far, and you've got to respect the way they've played. They are killing the ball. They've scored almost seven runs a game, and Adam Lind has been probably the best hitter in the league so far, hitting .400 with 12 RBIs.

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Toronto certainly can do some damage offensively. There is no denying that fact. In addition to Lind, the Blue Jays have a healthy Aaron Hill and the usual suspects -- Vernon Wells, Alex Rios and Scott Rolen. They aren't going to be any fun for teams to play.

Plus, they have arguably the best pitcher in the AL in Roy Halladay. I just wonder whether they can maintain a pace like this over a full season with their pitching staff. We are only eight games in, and I think that before too long, the back of that rotation will start to catch up to them.

Still, I suppose they could edge out one of the favorites (Boston, New York and Tampa Bay) in the division and finish in the top three. I picked the Jays to finish fourth in the division before the season, and I have to stick with that for now. But remember, the beauty of baseball is that we always are wrong about predictions.

I picked the Tampa Bay Rays to finish fourth last season. In 2007, I picked the Colorado Rockies to finish fourth. Both of those teams went to the World Series. So, clearly, I'm not always right. In fact, I love looking back at my preseason predictions halfway through the season and wondering how I could have missed picking the surprise teams. It's possible I could be doing the same thing with the Jays this season.

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: April 13 | April 12 | April 9 | April 8 | April 7

TOUCH 'EM ALL

Touch 'Em AllWho went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page.

For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.

Home Run Tracker
NAME HR OPPPITCHER SITUATION
T. Hunter, LAA2SeaSilvaTop 6: 3-1, 2 Outs. None on.
K. Johnson, Atl3FlaVolstadBot 4: 3-2, 0 Outs. None on.
N. Swisher, NYY4TBGarzaTop 4: 2-2, 0 Outs. None on.
M. Young, Tex2BalSimonBot 1: 2-0, 1 Out. None on.
A. Huff, Bal1TexMcCarthyTop 2: 1-1, 0 Outs. None on.

The complete list of Tuesday's homers

ON DECK: WEDNESDAY'S BEST MATCHUPS

Padres at Mets

Feel free to rub your eyes and take a moment. Yes, the San Diego Padres are indeed 6-2. It all could come crashing down, but the Padres, the team predicted by many to be the worst in baseball, lead the National League West. Kevin Correia, who will start Wednesday against the Mets, ended up with a no-decision in his first outing of the season, a game the Padres won 4-3 against the Dodgers.

Giants at Dodgers

While everyone tries to figure out what is wrong with Tim Lincecum and Randy Johnson, at least one Giants starter has gotten off to a strong start. Matt Cain pitched seven strong innings in his first start of the season and will take the mound again Wednesday as the Giants go searching for that first road win. They are 0-4 away from home so far.

Rockies at Cubs

The Rich Harden watch likely will continue for a while despite the fact that he opened the regular season with a quality start (6 innings pitched, 1 run, 10 strikes). His spring was so bad that it'll take a while for the forever-nervous Cubs fans to believe Harden is feeling all right.

For the rest of Wednesday's schedule, click here.

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BBTN ON THE AIR: WEDNESDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
10 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Host: Karl Ravech
Analyst: Steve Phillips, John Kruk, Chris Singleton
12 a.m. ET
ESPN2
Host: Karl Ravech
Analyst: Steve Phillips, John Kruk, Chris Singleton

BBTN MINUTE: MARLINS PITCHING DEVELOPS

SIMON SAYS

Simon Says ESPN researcher Mark Simon digs deep, looking for the night's best baseball numbers.

Tonight, he looks at the different starts to the season from A.J. Burnett, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Tuesday, and Yankees teammate Chien-Ming Wang.

Burnett vs. Wang
Wang Burnett
ERA 28.93 2.70
K-BB 1-6 15-2
Extra-base hits allowed 7 2
Pitches-outs 134-14 201-40

WEB GEMS

TUESDAY'S BEST AND WORST

BEST
A.J. BurnettA.J. Burnett flirted with a no-hitter against the Rays. He held Tampa Bay hitless into the seventh but then lost the no-hitter -- and a 2-0 lead. However, the Yankees' bats responded, and Burnett made it through eight innings, allowing three hits and two runs in a 7-2 victory.
Chris Volstad• The Marlins' young pitchers continue to impress early in the season. Chris Volstad offered up the latest gem, permitting three hits and a lone run over seven innings in a 5-1 win against the Braves. Volstad so far this season: two starts, 12 innings, two earned runs, two victories. Not bad.
WORST
Tom Glavine• Injury news dominates this category. Start with Tom Glavine. The 305-game winner said Tuesday that if his sore shoulder does not improve over the next two weeks, he might be forced to retire. Glavine has been rehabbing since shoulder surgery in August.
Chris CarpenterChris Carpenter, who started this season so well after struggling through injuries in 2008, left Tuesday's start in the fourth inning after calling the Cardinals' trainer out to the mound as he warmed up. It later was revealed Carpenter had suffered a strained rib cage.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

Alfonso Soriano has started quickly, hitting .313 with four homers for the 5-2 Cubs, who take on the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. What has been his secret to success thus far? He's punishing pitches over the middle of the plate.

Alfonso Soriano by pitch location (2009)
In Middle Away
H-AB 2-11 6-9 2-11
HR 0 3 1

Soriano is a combined 4-for-23 (.174) on pitches that don't come over the plate, but those numbers shouldn't be a cause for concern. Soriano hit .266 on pitches in those areas last season, higher than the .243 league average in 2008.

-- ESPN Stats & Information

FANTASY: PREVIEW OF WEDNESDAY'S GAMES

Tristan Cockcroft examines the 10 games on Wednesday's slate.

Fantasy Cockcroft ranks the pitchers scheduled to take the mound and supplies loads of other information that could help shape your roster for Wednesday. Daily Notes