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Toronto Blue Jays Inside Pitch 2008-12-30


Toronto Blue Jays Inside Pitch 2008-12-30
While the Blue Jays topped the American League in pitching in 2008 -- a 3.49 ERA plus a league-low 1,330 hits allowed -- their Achilles' heel, other than key injuries, was their offense.

Center fielder Vernon Wells, who was held to 20 home runs and just 108 games played in 2008, knows that's where the Jays have to pick up the pace in 2009.

"You talk about winning a championship or making the playoffs, you have to have all three things -- pitching, hitting and defense -- together, and we haven't been able to do that," Wells said. "Last year we had two of the three phases working.

"The offense is the big thing. You have to be able to score runs to take pressure off your pitching staff. You look at the numbers our pitching staff put up, and they're unbelievable. We just didn't hit."

Wells also knows that without A.J. Burnett in the starting rotation, the Jays will be considered a longshot to make noise in the powerful AL East.

"It's going to be challenging, given how well Tampa's been able to do and how well they did last year," Wells said. "Given the acquisitions the Yankees have made so far -- and obviously they may not be done yet -- and with Boston in the same division, it will be difficult."

In 2009 the Jays need to see a return of the Wells from 2003. That season, Wells hit .317 with 33 homers and 117 RBI. The closest Wells has come to equaling those numbers was 2006, when he hit .303 with 32 homers and 106 RBI.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 30, 2008

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