Saturday, June 1, 2013
Slumping Wells hits wall
By Matt Ehalt
Vernon Wells hasn't homered (or done much of anything else) since May 15.
Technology hasn't helped Vernon Wells find an explanation for why he cooled off in May after such a blazing start to the 2013 season.
"Video looks the same from April to May," Wells said Saturday. "It's just a matter of there's some pitches I got that I just missed. Some balls I hit hard, just at people. You work your way through that process and try not to get too frustrated with the outcome."
After a scorching March and April, Wells' numbers dipped in May, largely due to the massive slump he's endured over the past two weeks. Since May 15, the date of his last homer, Wells is batting just .137 with an on-base percentage of .154 and a slugging percentage of .196. He has just one RBI in 51 at-bats in that stretch and has walked just once.
"I think it's kind of a mixed bag. I hit some balls hard, didn't get the results I wanted. Just missed some pitches. Some at-bats were just bad at-bats," Wells said. "I'm trying to watch video and see what small things may be off. Sometimes it's just a matter of you're still doing the right things, you're just not getting the results you want."
Wells, who the Yankees acquired right before the season started, looked rejuvenated for the first month and a half. In March and April, Wells hit .300 with a .544 slugging percentage while blasting six homers and 13 RBIs. By May 15, he had upped those totals to 10 homers and 23 RBIs, while batting .301 and carrying a robust .357 on-base percentage.
Since then, Wells has hit a wall, going hitless in six of the 13 games he's appeared in. Monday, he snapped an 0-for-17 with a single against the Mets, and he hasn't walked since May 16. Wells' overall numbers have dropped to .258 with an on-base percentage of .306. The left fielder acknowledged it's been rough to work walks lately as opposing teams have pounded the strike zone.
"If you're facing guys that are throwing strikes, for the most part, you look at our team overall, over the last week we didn't walk too much facing guys that were throwing strikes and being effective in the strike zone and getting ahead of us," Well said. "There are times when you have to give the pitchers credit and if they're having the right game plan and executing it."
Wells has become a regular in the Yankees' outfield with Curtis Granderson's injuries. Wells' playing time was expected to decrease when Granderson returned, but Granderson suffered a broken left hand shortly after coming back, and the Yankees have been using Wells nearly every day.
The 34-year-old said he's feeling fine physically and appreciates the chance to play daily.
"Sometimes it's hard to sit and watch over and over again. I choose to play," Wells said. "No matter how you feel every day it's fun to be out on the field. It's a blast to put this uniform on and get a chance to help your team, whether it's at the plate or in the field."