When the Red Sox traded Bronson Arroyo last month, David Wells quipped, "They traded the wrong guy."
And after the way Wells pitched in his first game of the season tonight, many of us are inclined to agree with him. Making it through just 4 2/3 innings, Wells surrendered 10 hits and 7 earned runs in an embarrassing loss to the Blue jays. Wells gave up three homers in his ghastly outing, and the fans let him hear their disapproval loud and clear. And there were plenty of them to be heard. Fenway's new capacity allowed for 36,378 fans - the biggest nighttime crowd in the park's history.
After hearing of his trade demand during the offseason - which was only rescinded during spring training - many Sox fans were none too pleased with Boomer before the game even started, and his poor performance only made things worse.
The resulting 8-4 loss snapped the Sox five-game winning streak, and a chance to match the team's best start in 86 years.
The were bad omens when Wells opened the season with a Minor League rehab start, and proceeded to get shelled. Tonight he looked like he could use a few more of those tune-ups before he's ready or prime time.
Wells turns 43 next month, and this appearance will raise some eyebrows and cause some to wonder if Boomer has finally gotten a little too long in the tooth. Though it may be too soon to throw up the white flag, it's worth noting that in ten years Bronson arroyo will still be three years younger than Wells is now. Yeah. It puts things in perspective.
Aside from the fact that Wells is a loud mouth with a long history of putting his foot in that mouth, he's never been a conditioning devotee and is returning from off season knee surgery. If he continues to turn in efforts like this one tonight, things will get ugly really fast for him with the Fenway faithful. It's difficult to argue that someone approaching 43 got old overnight. By baseball standards, Wells got old a few years ago but has successfully eluded Father Time - at least until now.
Meanwhile, back in Cincinnati, Arroyo improved to 2-0, throwing seven scoreless innings against the Cubs yesterday. The 29-year-old allowed six hits -- all singles -- and struck out four while not walking a batter for his second-straight start. Who needs a guy like that in the rotation?
It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, but I always maintained that Arroyo was an ideal number four of five starter, because he was durable, reliable, had big-game experience, and always wanted the ball. Who wouldn't want a pitcher under the age of thirty with those qualities? Let's just hope we don't end up wishing that the Sox had traded Wells - who actually demanded a trade - instead of a pitcher who desperately wanted to stay in Boston. Before too long, we could all be left asking, why?
Wells takes his next turn against the Mariners on Marathon Monday. Hopefully, being the seasoned veteran that he is, Wells will be able to put this dismal performance out of his mind and get himself back on track. The big lefty has always had a rubber arm, and perhaps it's too soon to assume the worst. Wells may have just had an off night, and could rebound nicely. It's a tough call. He doesn't look ready for the big leagues right now. But we'll have to wait and see and, in the mean time, hope for the best. Specifically, that the Red Sox didn't trade the wrong guy.
Copyright © 2006 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.