David Wells wasn’t exactly thrilled to be pulled from his last start.
Wells, 45-19 at Yankee Stadium during the regular season coming in, allowed six runs—five earned—and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings in Boston’s 8-4 loss to New York on Friday. However, after the game he seemed more annoyed with being taken out than with how he pitched.
“There’s not much you can do, except hit the showers,” Wells said. “I mean, I just got an out and am thinking of finishing the inning. It’s not even six innings.”
Francona saw things a bit differently.
“I don’t think his command was as good as it’s been,” Francona said. “We’re trying to win the game. We’re down two, not helping ourselves a lot … we want to get out of the inning with a chance to win.”
Including Wednesday’s start, Wells is in the midst of a stretch of four straight starts against former teams. The 19-year veteran has played for eight clubs during his career, including two stints with Toronto—1987-92 and 1999-00. Over his previous three starts, Wells went 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA against the Yankees (’97-98), Baltimore Orioles (’96) and Detroit Tigers (’93-95).
The Red Sox have been treading water of late, losing four of their last six, including Tuesday’s 9-3 defeat. They lead the AL East by 2 1/2 games over the Yankees, who defeated Tampa Bay 17-3 on Tuesday.
Boston played without the services of leading hitter Johnny Damon. The speedy center fielder was back in Boston having an MRI of his left shoulder. The test showed no structural damage.
Damon didn’t play in Boston’s 6-5 win in 11 innings over Toronto on Monday night. He has been playing with discomfort since injuring the shoulder on a slide against Baltimore on Sept. 4.
“The report was as good as it could be,” Francona said. “Structurally there is no damage. I think he bruised that area. He’s got some swelling.”
Francona said Damon will remain in Boston for treatment while the Red Sox finish their Toronto road trip. Boston returns home to play Oakland on Thursday.
“Even if he can’t (play) the news is good. He’s going to be OK,” Francona said. “We just have to let it settle down.”
Damon got a cortisone shot after Friday night’s game in New York, sat out Saturday and was Boston’s designated hitter on Sunday. He is second in the AL in batting average (.321) and fifth in runs scored.
Gabe Gross hit his first home run in nearly a year during a five-run second inning for the Blue Jays on Tuesday as they ended a two-game slide.
Infielder Aaron Hill is batting .097 (3-for-31) in September, dropping his average 19 points to .270.