Kip Wells' ERA this Spring is an acceptable 4.00 thus far in nine innings pitched. Compare that to say, Jake Peavy (9.00, 8 IP) or Ben Sheets (5.63, 8 IP) and you might be inclined to say: "so what? Spring stats are meaningless."
And you'd be pretty much correct. Wells obviously isn't Peavy or Sheets, and thankfully for everybody involved, the Rockies or nobody else are expecting him to be. So why worry about him when on the surface he's looking better at preventing runs right now than several of the NL's best? Well obviously nobody's going to worry about Peavy or Sheets, but beyond the runs allowed there are many more disconcerting facets to Wells Cactus League performance. The things that continually jump out at me are that Wells has gotten all 27 of his outs off of contact (no K's) while allowing sixteen baserunners in those nine innings thus far. Something just isn't right there. A simple approximation of run expectancy is to figure on half a run per baserunner, which would suggest Wells has been around four runs lucky so far this Spring. That nine of those baserunners have been put aboard by walk or HBP -meaining only seven hits- suggests that additionally he's been lucky in getting DP hops that probably shouldn't be expected later.
So what needs to happen for me to gain confidence? No walks would be a great start. I'm still not too worried about an HR or two, this is Arizona after all, but I'm also looking at how sharply opposition connects, and obviously how often it's into the ground rather than the air. But there's one other option: I'd almost as much rather have a complete disaster start right now to send a clear message to the team that Wells won't work. Is it bad of me to be partly hoping that we get our bell rung for the first couple of innings today?
If that's the case I still hope we make a comeback under Buchholz et al.
The game's also being broadcast online via both Gameday Audio and MLB.TV today.