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I’ll come right out and call it what it is: a classic case of second-guessing. Textbook, in fact. 

David Wells out, and to the enemy. Tim Stauffer in, and pitching as if he were an enemy plant. Sure, the chronology isn’t precisely correct, and there are other guys involved, but indulge me for a minute. It’s either that, or endure yet another conversation about Clay Hensley, and I don’t think you want to go there. 

Sorry to have to do this, but let’s rehash Stauffer’s numbers. Two starts, 7 2/3 innings pitched, 15 hits, 18 earned runs, five homers, six walks, six strikeouts, and an ERA of 21.13. On the bright side, if Stauffer were to get a chance to relieve, and pitch an inning and a third scoreless, his ERA would plummet to 18.00. If he were to follow that up with a nine-inning shutout, the ERA would fall to 9.00.

Meanwhile, David Wells took his pink slip and severance pay, and had a very nice three week vacation, thank you very much. Then he went out and won a big game for Los Angeles against the Mets last night, sparking the Dodgers attack with a bunt single, which led to the game-changing rally.

And all of a sudden, the Padres, in Jake Peavy and Greg Maddux, are down to one great starting pitcher and one very good one — two starters they can really and truly count on. After that, it’s up to the medical staff and every inch of Chris Young’s large frame to get that valuable arm back in the rotation for the duration, and God-knows-what for the other two spots.

Remember, I said up front that I was second guessing, but here’s what the Pads might have done with David Wells, rather than just removing him from the roster permanently. First, they might have had him serve the seven-game suspension he had coming.

To buy some more time, they could have disabled him with some minor injury or another, real or semi-imagined (it happens all the time, by the way) and just left him on the shelf while testing out other options. L.A. will find out what the break has done for the 44-year-old pitcher in the coming days, but it might very well have been the Padres filling a need from within.

With Los Angeles bumping Eric Stults’ start back a ways, Wells will probably start Friday night at Petco, against whoever San Diego trots out there. As I said in my last blog, the outcome of that game, and Wells performance overall, should be huge factors in the NL West race. And the Padres didn’t see it coming.

Oh, by the way; is there some reason Woody Williams hasn’t been reeled in for another go round with his old club? Oh yeah, multiples of millions of dollars owed next year, plus a mil this year. Just you watch as another club in the league goes and gets him.

— HOWARD COLE

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