The San Diego Padres have been in the mix for the NL West lead all season thanks to the major leagues’ top pitching staff. Those pitchers have been enduring a rough week, though.
Second-place San Diego (54-46) is one game back of the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers despite dropping five of its last six games. The Padres lost to Colorado 10-2 on Wednesday and have been outscored 48-19 during their skid.
San Diego still has the best team ERA in baseball at 3.38, but the staff has posted a 7.96 ERA in the last six contests. Wells (5-6, 4.57 ERA) didn’t do anything to lower that number his last time out.
The left-hander was reached for a season-high seven runs and seven hits - including three home runs - in just 4 1-3 innings of Saturday’s 12-4 loss to Philadelphia. He had gone 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his previous four starts.
“I wasn’t hitting my locations very well … leaving the ball over the middle of the plate,” Wells told the team’s official Web site.
The 21-year veteran is 2-0 with a 5.71 ERA in three career starts against the Astros. He has not faced them since giving up three runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-4 win at Minute Maid Park on July 17, 2004.
Houston (44-57) defeated the Dodgers 2-1 on Wednesday, going ahead on Carlos Lee’s solo home run in the seventh inning.
Lee, who has four homers in 12 games since the All-Star break, is batting .333 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 17 career games against the Padres.
Lance Berkman is batting .421 (16-for-38) with three home runs and nine RBIs in his last 10 games against San Diego, and is 3-for-6 with a homer lifetime against Wells.
Wandy Rodriguez (6-9, 4.46) hopes a return to Minute Maid Park can help him shake a couple of rough outings when he takes the ball Thursday. After tossing 16 scoreless innings in winning his first two July starts - both at home - Rodriguez has given up 13 runs in 8 1-3 innings to lose his last two starts on the road.
On Saturday, the left-hander gave up six runs and seven hits in five innings of a 7-3 defeat to Pittsburgh.
Rodriguez is 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA in nine starts at home and has won five of his last six outings there, yielding one run or less in the victories.
Although he has pitched brilliantly at Minute Maid Park this season, he hasn’t had much success in his career against the Padres. In two games - one start - against them, he has been pounded for 10 runs in 4 2-3 innings and took the loss in each contest. He has not faced San Diego since 2005, though.
The Astros and Padres split their six games last season.