When the veterans oppose each other Saturday at Petco Park, they’ll become the second-oldest pitchers to square off in major league history.
Wells looks to lead the NL West-leading Padres to another victory, while Moyer tries to break out of his funk in this matchup of 44-year-old left-handers.
Wells (5-5, 4.15 ERA) is sixth among active pitchers with 235 wins, 12 ahead of Moyer (7-8, 4.99), who’s seventh on the list. This will be their first meeting since April 14, 2000, when Moyer took the win and Wells suffered the loss in Seattle’s 11-9 victory over Toronto.
Wells and Moyer, who have each pitched 21 seasons, have a combined age of 88 years and 307 days. That’s second only to a June 8, 1987 meeting between the California Angels’ Don Sutton and Cleveland’s Phil Niekro, who were a combined 90 years, 135 days old.
The Padres (53-42) lost 7-3 to the Phillies on Friday, but remained one percentage point ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division. Philadelphia (48-48) had two hits and a run in the first inning after managing just four hits in Thursday’s series-opening 1-0 loss.
San Diego won just five of Wells’ first 14 starts this season, but has won each of his last four outings. The left-hander, 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in those games, has not won three straight decisions since Sept. 14-30, 2005.
The three-time All-Star gave up one run and seven hits in six innings of Monday’s 5-1 victory over the New York Mets, and unveiled a knuckleball for the first time in a decade.
“To me, it’s another pitch in the arsenal. I’m not going to get carried away,” he said. “You pick your spots with it. My other stuff’s pretty good, too, so I’ll stick with that.”
The start was Wells’ first appearance since being suspended seven games and fined $3,000 by the commissioner’s office for his animated argument with an umpire July 14. He appealed, so the penalty can’t start until after a hearing is held.
Wells has made only four career starts against the Phillies, going 2-1 with a 4.33 ERA. He has not faced them since 2005 while pitching for Boston.
Moyer was pounded for 10 runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 10-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, the most he’s given up since allowing 10 runs to the Red Sox on Aug. 14, 2002 while pitching for the Mariners.
“I’ve made over 500 starts, and this just goes into the whole pile with all of them - good ones and bad ones,” said Moyer, who at age 40 in 2003 became the second-oldest first-time All-Star, behind 46-year-old Satchel Paige in 1952.
Moyer has been awful this month, losing all three of his starts - each on the road - and posting a 10.06 ERA in those games. The left-hander, who 7-5 with a 4.15 ERA in his first 16 outings of the season, hasn’t lost four straight starts since dropping five in a row Aug. 4-24, 2000.
Moyer is 6-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 14 starts against the Padres. He gave up two runs in seven innings of a 9-5 victory for Seattle in his last start against San Diego on June 24 of last season.
Philadelphia’s Chase Utley hit his 17th homer of the season Friday, and is batting .446 (25-for-56) with 15 RBIs in his last 12 games.