Monday, April 4, 2011
Posted: 9:24 a.m.
(AP) -- Randy Wells thinks his struggles in 2010 will make him a better pitcher this season.
The Chicago Cubs right-hander will try to get this campaign off to a strong start and help his team bounce back from a disappointing loss in Monday's opener of a three-game home series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Wells' first full season as a starter in 2009 was a surprise as he finished 12-10 and led all Cubs starters with a 3.05 ERA after being called up in May.
Wells, though, won only eight times last year, going 8-14 with a 4.26 ERA. After opening with three consecutive victories, he was 2-12 over his next 21 starts.
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"I hit a little rough patch and didn't really know how to deal with it," Wells said. "I think it was a big learning experience. You learn a lot about yourself when you're going through that kind of adversity. I think it's really going to be beneficial for me this year."
The Cubs (1-2) could use a solid effort from their right-hander after failing to win their season-opening series versus Pittsburgh on Sunday as closer Carlos Marmol allowed two ninth-inning runs in a 5-4 loss. Shortstop Starlin Castro, who had two triples among his three hits, made a throw that pulled first baseman Carlos Pena off the bag, allowing Neil Walker to score the go-ahead run.
"A tough one for sure," manager Mike Quade said. "My sense is we'll be in a lot of (close) games. You work like heck and eliminate the mistakes."
The Diamondbacks (1-1) didn't get the chance to play Sunday as a mix of rain and snow postponed their series finale in Colorado. The previous day, they experienced a record 84-degree weather in Denver before losing 3-1.
Arizona had six hits in that game after collecting 15 in its season debut, a 7-6 win in 11 innings. Ryan Roberts said that opener gave the Diamondbacks a boost confidence.
"This team is capable of coming back and we showed it," he said. "This is a team that can hit and score runs late in games."
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Joe Saunders, who was scheduled to start Sunday, will get the ball for the series opener and bump Barry Enright to Tuesday.
"The guy's on my team. He's a veteran. I feel great about it," manager Kirk Gibson told the team's official website. "He was behind on his innings, but he got up around 100 pitches in his last outing. ... He'll be fine."
Saunders will try to rebound after suffering the most defeats in the majors in 2010 with Arizona and the Los Angeles Angels. The left-hander, who was 9-17 with a 4.47 ERA in a career-high 33 starts, didn't give many promising signs of a rebound during spring training as he was 1-3 with a 12.46 ERA in six outings.
Enright went 6-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 17 starts after his contract was purchased from Double-A Mobile on June 30. He won his major league debut in St. Louis but lost to the Cubs at home in the next outing.
Saunders dropped his only outing against Chicago on June 20 when he was tagged for eight runs - five earned - in 2 2-3 innings at Wrigley Field.
Wells is seeking his third win in as many starts against Arizona and will try to guide the Cubs to their seventh straight victory in the series.
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