10/04/2003 7:15 PM ET
Yanks try to lower the Boomer
Wells gets Game 4 ALDS start vs. Twins
MINNEAPOLIS -- If David Wells accomplishes what he wants out of this season, you won't
hear from him next season. His part of that mission begins Sunday.
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
"Going out on top would be a nice way to go," Wells hinted.
Joe Torre's decision to start Wells in Game 4 of the American League Division Series wasn't the
last-minute choice it appeared to be. Wells learned about it during Game 2. Torre, for his part,
said he had planned out his rotation with Wells.
For all the challenges and controversy Wells has faced this season -- he called himself "the
flavor of the year" -- his postseason history makes him almost a must on a series rotation.
That's what made his loss in last year's AL Division Series such a headline.
The Angels stepped to the plate in Game 4 last October and rocked him for eight runs and 10
hits in 4 2/3 innings, dropping his playoff record to 8-2. He has eight quality outings in 11
"I want to be in this situation," Wells said. "I'm not afraid to fail. And the thing is, when you
get to the postseason, you get hyped up a little more. This is what it's all about, getting to this
point in the season and going out there. So you want to try to make the best of every start that
you get. I go out with confidence and just trust in my ability."
He owns as much mention in Twins history as postseason history. His perfect game in 1998
came wearing pinstripes against the Twins at Yankee Stadium. Between four American
League stops, he owns an 18-6 record and 2.32 ERA against Minnesota, more than any
opponent except Cleveland. Seven of those wins have come at the Metrodome, where his ERA
"The turf speeds the game up a little bit," he said. "But coming in here, I've had good success
playing in this stadium. The only downfall is fly balls; you can't see them. As long as the guys
are positioned right and I make my pitches, it's just like anybody else coming in."
Opponent-wise, the Twins would seem to be made for him. They've dug themselves a 2-1 series
hole in part by swinging early in counts, allowing Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens to
conserve pitches the last two games. Wells follows having just finished the regular season as
the first regular American League starter in the designated hitter era to average less than a
walk per nine innings. He had a 59-inning stretch without a walk until Torii Hunter drew a
pass in the seventh inning of a 15-1 Yankees victory here April 21.
But then, the Twins were down 2-1 in their Division Series against the A's last year. They beat
Tim Hudson to force a Game 5.
"These are great pitchers we're facing right now," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We
stick with our players. They got us here. We believe in them. We're going to play another
game (Sunday), get after them as best we can and take our chances."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.