Randy Wells Hates Daylight, Sobriety

Randy Wells, starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, has a problem.

He is horrible when pitching in day games.

Cubs fans are beginning to wonder if this weakness is merely a fluke — a product of small sample size and a little bad luck — or something more, perhaps indicative of a wee self-control deficit.

These concerns came to a head last weekend as Wells took the mound for an afternoon match against the Cubs’ crosstown rivals, the White Sox…

Rumors that Randy had been out all night boozing with the newly-crowned Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks began with a call to a local radio show, and soon spread throughout the stands and the interwebs.

Randy Wells claims he was not involved in any such shenanigans, and says he bedded down at an early hour in order to be his best on game day. But he was then shellacked by the White Sox’ sorry offense, to the tune of 5 earned runs and 10 hits in 5 innings, and tarred with the loss.

An ROTI investigation reveals that Randy Wells has a systemic problem when hurling before sundown, and at least one heretofore-unseen eyewitness report states that he’s a true madman when it comes to the Chicago party scene.

Red-faced Randy with Chi Sock Gordon Beckham,
each sporting tanlines and a Victoria’s Secret supermodel on his arm

Randy’s troubles began when a caller to Chicago’s WSCR claimed he was partying until 3 am at the club Underground with the Blackhawks and some members of the Chicago Bears. The reason why Wells’ alleged presence was notable, of course, is that the rest of the athletes were on vacation, while he was due to pitch the next day.

Wells vehemently denied these rumors:

”It’s never how you want to wake up and come to the ballpark,” said Wells, who has struggled through particularly rough first innings in three of his last four starts.

”I told myself all last night and at dinner, come in confident and today’s a new day, and it’s a big series for us, and everybody’s going to be pumped up, and I’m going to be pumped up. And then to come in and have to answer questions [from the team] about somebody saying you were out all night, it’s kind of funny.

”I don’t know what they’re talking about. I went to dinner last night, got some good dinner with friends, got home, got some rest. And I was excited to come to the ballpark. I showed up at 8 in the morning. It’s pretty tough to pull an all-nighter and be here at 8.”

The rumors persisted, however, when Wells coughed up two earned runs in the first inning on four consecutive hits, then got chased in the fifth inning after allowing three more runs…and all this at home, against an offense in the lower-third of the major leagues.

FanHouse’s John Hickey explains that Wells is in quite a funk:

“I’m not exactly brimming with confidence right now,” [Wells] said after lasting just five innings while giving up 10 hits and five runs. “My ERA is ballooning up and I’m not winning. I need to take care of some stuff, make some adjustments and get my edge back.”

Part of the problem is Wells’ sinking fastball isn’t sinking. Another part is that his pitches all seem to be about the same speed, 88-91 mph.

“I was talking to my teammates today, and that’s what they said,” Wells said. “They told me how they would approach it as hitters. They’d eliminate [looking for] one pitch and sit on a pitch.”

It was certainly a successful strategy for the White Sox Friday. And that left Wells at perhaps his low point of the year.

“It’s embarrassing,” Wells said. “It really is. I know I’m better than this. I hope the fans know I’m better than this.”

Unfortunately for Randy Wells, the fans seemed to be of one mind on this one.

And their attitude was not particularly supportive.

Querying Twitter for “Randy Wells” turns up a barrage of critical comments:

The Blackhawks’ party at Underground
(Not pictured: Randy Wells)

Unlike troubled, bitter Cubbies fans, ROTI is not so quick to condemn young Randy…

Our philosophy is to investigate, THEN condemn!

Thus far this season, Randy Wells has started six day games and seven night games. He’s pitched 34.2 innings in daytime and 37 innings at night. It’s just about an even split.

Wells has been sharp after dark — a 3.21 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, holding batters to a .241 batting average and .667 OPS. For those unversed in baseball stat-dorkery, those are very respectable numbers.

During the daytime, it’s an altogether different proposition. He’s been blasted for a 7.01 ERA and 1.78 WHIP, and opponents are mashing a .349 batting average and .876 OPS when facing him. You don’t have to be Bill James to detect that those numbers are way, way worse.

These splits also held true in his rookie campaign of 2009, although his numbers have diverged much more drastically this year…

Nighttime Randy Wells makes batters look like Nick Punto. Daytime Randy Wells makes batters look like Albert Pujols.

Nighttime Randy quieted the Texas Rangers’ powerful lineup on May 22nd, going 8.1 strong innings, giving up less than one walk/hit per inning pitched.

Daytime Randy allowed six hits and five earned runs against the rival Cardinals on May 28th, and was pulled from the game in the first inning without recording a single out.

Now, whether his bad daytime starts were due to sweating out last night’s booze on the mound, I have no idea. It’s yet to be proved that Randy Wells was partying with the Blackhawks, despite what the Tweeps might tell you.

However, ROTI received a tip about Randy a couple of weeks before he became the subject of a boozy controversy in the Second City. It involves massive intoxication.

It was forwarded to us by trusty tipster C. Dave, who received it from a friend in Chi-town:

I went to the local bowling alley last night.  We were drinking beer and hanging out when Randy Wells came in to do some bowling.  He’d been drinking since 2 in the afternoon and was bombed.  At one point he was on the floor wrestling one of his friends.  I tried to get a picture, but some of his crew was looking at me (the girls–less wrecked, I think), and I realized that was probably a great way to get my ass kicked and my phone smashed.

After we finished bowling, we went to the bar.  Wells came in and bought a round of SoCo-lime shots for everyone in the bar.

We saw him a little later playing some punching game-thing, and just whaling on whatever he was punching…

Shortly after we received this tip, Randy was bashed by the awful Houston Astros for six earned runs on nine hits and two walks in 5.1 innings. You guessed it: day game.

So what have we learned from our investigation of the “Randy Wells drunk on the mound” rumor?

Randy Wells is a pretty fun guy to hang out with. He’ll buy everyone in the bar a SoCo and lime shot, wrestle all comers at the bowling alley, and set a new high score on the punching game-thing (probably not the smartest pastime for a dude that makes a living with his hands and arms, but whatever).

He’s also a great guy to have on your baseball team, assuming it’s a night game.

On the flip side, Daytime Randy Wells is a horrible pitcher, one that makes the Cubs faithful long for Tom Gorzelanny

I have no idea if Randy Wells was still drunk when he pitched against the South Siders. But I do know that Lou Piniella, and any fantasy baseball owner, would do well to steer clear of handing the ball to this party animal in day games.

About Alpine McGregor
Just like you, man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. All in the game, though, right?

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