Cubs' Wells walks into a heap of trouble

April, 28, 2012
4/28/12
9:33
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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PHILADELPHIA -- Randy Wells’ night got away in the fourth inning when he faced eight batters, but there was one he just couldn’t get out of his mind.

[+] EnlargeRandy Wells
AP Photo/Matt SlocumRandy Wells let Saturday's game get away from him in the fourth inning.

It wasn’t the two-run single from Carlos Ruiz that wiped away the Cubs' early lead. Nor was in the chalk-rustling two-run double Jimmy Rollins dropped into the right-field corner.

The batter that had Wells still seething long after his outing was complete came when opposing pitcher Joe Blanton worked a four-pitch walk with two outs that gave Rollins his chance in the first place.

“Obviously the walk to the pitcher is unacceptable and it makes me want to throw up,” Wells said. “I made a pretty decent pitch to Rollins and he just kept it fair. But that has nothing to do with it. It was downhill before that even happened.”

Wells had actually been cruising until the fourth, holding the Phillies without a hit over the first three innings before it all fell apart.

“It was too bad because he was pitching pretty well and he just couldn’t even find the strike zone,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Things were looking goo going into that inning and the lineup was set to just run right through it and he couldn’t even get through the pitcher without walking him.”

Sent to Triple-A Iowa to start the season, in part to work on his command, Wells has found it tough to find the strike zone ever since he was promoted last weekend after Ryan Dempster went to the disabled list.

Wells walked five in his season debut against the Cubs last Sunday and had three of his four walks Saturday in the fourth inning. He managed to work his way around trouble against the Reds by giving up just two runs, but his day was done after five innings.

He looked to be much improved and void of nerves Saturday, that is until the Phillies started getting base runners.

“It’s mindboggling to me,” Wells said. “I can watch the tape and see but it’s obviously a mechanical thing. Runners get on and the tension gets high and you kind of rush and speed up and I’m just burying [pitches in the dirt] that aren’t even close. You have to make pitches when your back is against the wall and I didn’t do it tonight.”

The difference between the first three innings and his fateful fourth was a matter of one of his pitches leaving him at the most inopportune moment.

“I had a pretty good changeup going,” he said. “The gameplan was working. I just got away from it and lost command of the changeup. I threw way too many, back to back. I brought the hitters back into the count and didn’t make the pitches when I had to.”

By the end of the trip, when Dempster comes off the disabled list, the Cubs will have to decide what to do with Wells. Sveum said the right-hander is still under consideration for the long-man spot in the bullpen, but getting sent back to Triple-A Iowa is another option.

“I’m not going to talk about that,” Wells said. “It’s beyond my control.”

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rizzo .281
HRA. Rizzo 23
RBIA. Rizzo 53
RA. Rizzo 65
OPSA. Rizzo .907
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104