Vernon Wells’ strong start is a distant memory and he’s hitting .118 with zero homers and a 21/2 K/BB ratio in his last 30 games, posting a ghastly .268 OPS (yes, OPS) dating back to mid-May.
For the season he’s now hitting .221 with a .263 on-base percentage and .368 slugging percentage in 68 games, which adds up to a .631 OPS that’s even lower than the .682 and .660 marks he had for the Angels the past two seasons. So why haven’t the Yankees benched him yet?
Here’s what manager Joe Girardi told Matthew Stanmyre of the Newark Star Ledger:
We still believe that he can get it done. I know he’s capable of doing it because I’ve watched it. I’ve watched it with my own eyes. I saw him do it in April and I believe that he can still get it done.
April was nice and all, but it’s one month and Wells has now hit .222 with a .658 OPS in his last 276 games and 1,061 plate appearances dating back to 2011. And that includes his good April this year.
Wells got dumped on the Yankees because the Angels were convinced he’s washed up and now he’s playing like someone who’s washed up. Obviously if the Yankees were healthier Wells would probably have lost his regular spot in the lineup already, but even an injury wrecked team should be able to see that it’s just not happening.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.