Australian pitcher Alexander Wells has likely finished up with his maiden season in the MLB, picking up the win after a long outing on the mound for the Baltimore Orioles.
Wells, who hails from New South Wales, was given the starting duties for the third game of Baltimore’s penultimate series of the 2021 season against the Boston Red Sox.
The left-hander lasted six innings on the mound for the Orioles in September 30’s 6-2 win over the Red Sox. It was the longest time he had spent with the ball in hand in a game for the team this season.
Throughout the six innings, Wells bounced back after giving up a first pitch home run to Boston’s lead-off hitter Kiké Hernández to finish a outing where he surrendered three hits while striking out two. He ended the contest with an ERA of 6.75, although picked up the win – his second for the year.
Speaking to media post-game, Wells said he needed to recover quickly after the first innings, referencing his ability to move on and not let mistakes get to him as the game progressed.
“First pitch, obviously getting hit for a home run is never good. It was only the first pitch so [there’s] plenty of game left just to go out there and compete with all my stuff,” he said.
“You just can’t take your foot off the pedal when you’re out there. [With] good quality lineups, especially when you play against AL (American League) East teams, you’re facing one through nine, really good hitters so you can’t take your foot off the gas, just go out there and attack and don’t hold back anything.”
Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde was also upbeat about Wells’ capability to push past inaccuracies, and commended his control on the mound.
“You know what, I thought that first inning, to escape that first inning only giving up that one run, that was an enormous key to the game,” Hyde told media post-game.
“I though the command, he looked a little nervous for me, the command was spotty, I thought he threw too many fastballs, he was kind of up in the zone a little bit, maybe he was overexcited.
“But I thought once he got past that first inning, his pitch mix was so much better [for] the rest of his outing, using his change-up more, he’s using a good slider, even dumping in some breaking balls there early in the count.
“So I thought he started pitching better after that first inning and yeah, [Boston’s] got a lot to play for and they came out swinging the bat right away and he did a great job of kind of settling down, settling in once he got through that first inning.”
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The Orioles, currently holding a 52-107 record with three games left in their season, are out of the playoff picture. With Wells making an appearance yesterday, it’s unlikely he’ll be called upon to pitch again this season.
It’s been a whirlwind year for the Aussie, who began the year in the organisation’s Triple A affiliate, the Norfolk Tides and after impressing in eight games for the team, was called up to the MLB roster.
He made his MLB debut on June 26 – and became the 36th Aussie to do so -, entering the game for a two-inning outing, staying up the top for a second appearance three days later where he collected the win in another two-inning game.
Wells was sent back down to Triple A for two games in early July before again being called up to the Majors where he added another four games to his MLB career across late-July and early-August. He was again sent down to Norfolk to end the second half of the month.
Throughout September, Wells spent the whole month with Baltimore and played five games, culminating in the most recent outing that brought a close to his year.
Overall, in 2021, Wells’ first season in the MLB finished with 11 appearances – and eight starts – with a 2-3 win-loss record. He pitched a total of 42.2 innings for 53 hits and 32 runs with 26 strikeouts and an ERA of 6.75.
When he spoke to media, the Newcastle local said he was happy with how he ended his first season with experience in the Majors, saying he only wanted to always do his best on the field and prove he deserved a spot.
“I wanted to go out there and compete to the best of my ability, to go out and put [in] a good outing together and I did that. It’s incredible,” he said.
“It’s huge to finish up like that, take some confidence into the off-season. It’s fun. It’s good to take into the off-season and take it into Spring Training next year and get ready to roll.”
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