6/17 All's well with Wells

Randy Wells began his self-proclaimed new season with a no decision on Thursday. Wells said before the game he was starting over. He got advice from four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux plus pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

“It was nice to get through the first inning,” Wells said. “It’s unfortunate it took this long to get the problem fixed.”

One of his goals was to avoid trouble pitching out of the stretch. Wells gave up an “uh oh, here we go again” double down the left field line to leadoff hitter Rajai Davis but escaped a potential mess by retiring the next three hitters. In the seventh, Wells served up Mark Ellis’ home run but still finished the inning although not without a visit from Lou Piniella. The A’s had a runner at third and two outs and Conor Jackson coming up.

“I had a good feeling we were going to win the game,” Wells said. “I told [Piniella] I was going to win the game. I said, ‘Just give me a chance,’ and he said, ‘Last batter.'”

Wells got Jackson to pop up.

“Today, I was pleased with the way I calmed my emotions and I didn’t let negative things bother me,” Wells said. “I made a couple mistakes but I was able to keep my cool and continually execute my pitches.”

The change he made in his mechanics is pretty simple. Wells called Maddux, now an assistant to Cubs GM Jim Hendry.

“I went to Larry with what I’d talked to Greg about and before I could get a word out of my mouth, he said, ‘This is what’s happening, your fastballs flat, your ball’s not sinking, you’re spiking changeups and all of that comes from falling towrads the plate,” Wells said. “It was a simple adjustment.”

He did not get the win in the Cubs’ 3-2 come from behind victory over Oakland but did notch his seventh quality start.

– Carrie Muskat

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