Being like B-Law
The San Diego Padres have gotten great pitching throughout the opening two months of the season. The starters' ERA's are amongst the best in baseball, but several records among them are less than stellar.
And just when you think you have heard everything, David Wells talks about being more like, of all people, fellow starter Brian Lawrence.
David Wells was joking ... right?
After suffering his fourth loss of the young season Sunday (May 16) despite allowing only three runs to the Cubs over six innings, the soon-to-be 41-year-old looked in the direction of Brian Lawrence and hinted that he and the other Padres starters might want to steal some of Lawrence's mojo.
Wells is 2-4 despite a 3.78 ERA. Jake Peavy is 3-2 with three no-decisions despite a 2.08 ERA that places him among the National League leaders. Ismael Valdez is 3-2 with a 3.89 ERA.
But Lawrence is 5-2 despite a 4.57 ERA.
The reason is simple. The Padres are averaging 6.5 runs a game when Lawrence pitches -- and less than two when Wells starts.
Lawrence, admitedly, has been getting exceptional run support, and now his pitching is coming around. His velocity has climbed to 86-90 mph his last two starts, and his slider has returned. Which is why he has allowed only three earned runs over his last 17 innings.
"We're going to have to get Lawrence to share some of his runs ... one way or another," joked Wells, who has been working with a very small margin of error as a Padre.
"Last year I was blessed with a ton of runs (produced by the Yankees)," said Wells. "This year is the flip side. I'm holding my composure. It will turn around. We can't have animosity toward one another or get in each other's faces. We have to keep plugging away. It is way, way, way early. Some guys are not playing that well. But I think there's a determination."
For his part, Wells didn't believe he held up his side of the bargain in home losses to Cincinnati and Chicago last week. In both games, the opposition built early leads only to have the Padres rally to tie the game. And as soon as they did, Wells gave up a homer that put his team down again.
On Sunday, the homer was hit by Cubs leadoff man and second baseman Jose Macias on the first pitch Wells threw in the fifth.
"That's the second time I've done that (this homestand)," said Wells, who added he was a little "perturbed" at giving up the Macias homer. "I knew I threw well today. I made a couple of mistakes and paid for it. So far, it's been frustrating."
Meantime, Wells is approaching two anniversaries. He turns 41 on Thursday (May 20), and Monday (May 17) marks the sixth anniversary of the perfect game that he threw for the Yankees against Minnesota. The masterpiece was the 14th in history and the first regular-season perfect game pitched by a Yankee. Fellow Point Loma High (San Diego) grad Don Larson pitched a perfect game for the Yankees in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.
Although aware of the date, Wells said it carries no special significance.
"It's something I did," Wells joked. "Not much happened in that game. When you think about it, a perfect game takes a lot of excitement out of the game. Yeah, I know the date, but I don't really think a lot about it. Maybe it will be something that I think more about after I've retired."