Randy Wells throws first shutout in Cubs rout against Giants
By gordon wittenmyer email@example.com August 29, 2011 11:00PM
Updated: November 4, 2011 6:00PM
SAN FRANCISCO — It wasn’t immediately known Monday whether Ryan Dempster has continued kicking young Cubs pitchers’ butts during this road trip.
But between Casey Coleman’s seven-inning battle against Cy Young winner Zack Greinke of the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday and Randy Wells’ 7-0 victory against the San Francisco Giants and two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum on Monday, the evidence suggests there might be a little fire warming some pitchers’ seats.
Coleman and Wells have something to prove in the final month of the season to secure a place in the Cubs’ pitching plans next spring.
Wells already might have done that the way he has been pitching since that so-called ‘‘butt kicking’’ he got awhile back from a teammate later identified as Dempster.
‘‘It was just kind of blown out of proportion,’’ Wells said after throwing his first professional complete game and shutout, a two-hitter. ‘‘It was just about being a good pitcher. ‘You’re a good pitcher, and you know what you’ve got to do to be successful,’ and ‘Quit making excuses and feeling sorry for yourself because your arm’s been bothering you, and go out there and pitch like you know you can pitch.’ ’’
It might have come against the worst-hitting, lowest-scoring team in the National League, but it was an impressive effort that overshadowed the Cubs’ three home runs off Lincecum. They were the most allowed in a game by Lincecum, who had given up three in his previous 14 starts.
Wells (6-4), who battled a forearm injury and its aftereffects for much of the season, walked one — the first batter of the game — and finished August 4-0.
‘‘It’s not like a Cy Young award or anything like that,’’ the converted catcher said of his outing, ‘‘but it’s still pretty special for a guy like me who started out where I started and came as far as I am.’’
Andrew Cashner (shoulder) struck out all three batters he faced Monday in his third minor-league rehab appearance for Class AA Tennessee. He’s expected to make his next appearance for Class AAA Iowa this week.
That puts him on track to return to the Cubs’ roster next week for the first time since he went on the DL with a shoulder strain in the first week of April. Cashner and the Cubs consider a healthy finish at the big-league level an important step for him looking ahead to another possible shot at a rotation job next spring.
Geovany Soto’s home run leading off the seventh Monday snapped an 0-for-25 skid.
◆ The Cubs entered Monday hitting just .180 (43-for-239) with runners in scoring position this month. They went 0-for-7 before Blake DeWitt’s three-run homer in the seventh.
◆ Aramis Ramirez’s .409 batting average in August (through Sunday) was tied with the Boston Red Sox’ David Ortiz for tops in the majors.