The Cubs right-hander has been removed from the disabled list to make his first start in nearly two months Saturday at Wrigley Field, where the Cubs continue their NL Central matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Wells had a rough 2010, going 8-14 with a 4.26 ERA in 32 starts, but he earned a spot in manager Mike Quade’s rotation by going 1-1 with a 2.10 ERA in six spring outings. Wells, though, complained of right forearm soreness after giving up one run and six hits in his first regular-season outing, a 4-1 victory over Arizona on April 4.
“I’m just going to get some rest and take some time and hopefully come back stronger,” Wells said after the club announced he would be placed on the disabled list. “It’s really disappointing.”
So have been the performances of James Russell(notes), Casey Coleman(notes) and Doug Davis(notes), who are a combined 2-12 with a 7.75 ERA as starters as the Cubs (22-27) have struggled to replace Wells and Andrew Cashner(notes) (shoulder) at the back end of their rotation.
Davis fell to 0-3 in three starts with the club after walking a season-high six in 4 2-3 innings of Friday’s 4-2 series-opening loss.
Wells (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will face a Pirates team trying to win four straight on the road for the first time since July 21-Aug. 1, 2008. Pittsburgh (23-26) is 14-12 on the road - a vast improvement from 2010 when it matched the 1963 New York Mets for the worst road record in a 162-game season at 17-64.
The left-hander has lost his last three starts despite posting a 3.57 ERA. He has one of the worst run-support averages in the majors at 1.90.
“It is what it is, and six days from now, I’ll be in Chicago and preparing to face those guys,” Maholm told the Pirates’ official website after yielding two runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings of Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Detroit.
Maholm is 7-2 with a 5.89 ERA in 14 starts against the Cubs. He did not earn a decision in a 5-3 loss at Wrigley Field on April 2 when he scattered five hits in 6 2-3 scoreless innings.
Alfonso Soriano(notes), 8 for 31 with four homers off Maholm, will look to extend his season-high hitting streak to nine after hitting a two-run home run in the ninth inning Friday for his first long ball since May 2.
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen(notes) will try to reach base in his 20th straight game against the Cubs after going 2 for 4 with a bases-loaded walk in the series opener. McCutchen, batting .442 (23 for 52) with two homers and 11 RBIs in his last 13 games at Wrigley Field, is 6 for 11 with one double and one triple off Wells.