San Diego — This is the kind of game that has "Boomer" written all over it. At least the San Diego Padres hope it does.
Down one game to the St. Louis Cardinals in the division series, the Padres will turn to 43-year-old San Diego native David Wells to start Game 2 this afternoon against Jeff Weaver.
The Padres acquired Wells on Aug. 31 from Boston because of his reputation as a big-game pitcher, especially in October. At the moment, there's no bigger game than the one in front of the Padres, who don't want the Cards to take a 2-0 lead back home for Game 3 on Saturday.
"I couldn't be happier," said Wells, who plans to retire when the season ends.
"It's nice to represent your hometown and be a part of something big," the left-hander added. "This couldn't be a better time for me. It's my last year, and going out on top would be a nice way to go, especially in your hometown."
Although Wells went 0-2 in his first four starts with San Diego, he was sensational in his final regular-season start, pitching six scoreless innings Saturday at Arizona as the Padres won, 3-1, to clinch a postseason berth. He didn't even allow an Arizona baserunner to reach second base.
The Cardinals won, 5-1, on Tuesday, propelled by Albert Pujols' two-run homer against ace Jake Peavy. This is the third time the Padres are facing the Cardinals in a division series since 1996, and St. Louis has won all seven games.
"The boys are going to come out on Thursday and I promise you, expecting to win," Peavy said after the loss. "And we've got the big boy on the mound who has been there and done it before. Hopefully he'll give us a lift."
Wells has been successful in October throughout his career, reaching the postseason 11 times with six different teams. He has a career postseason record of 10-4 with a 3.15 earned-run average.
He won World Series rings with Toronto in 1992 and the Yankees in 1998, when he beat San Diego in Game 1 of New York's sweep. He was with the Yankees when they lost the 2003 World Series to Florida.
"I've just been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time," Wells said. "I've been fortunate to have good players, good teams behind me. It's what we play for all year and personally I love it. I think it's the greatest time of the year."
Wells, who pitched for the Padres in 2004, looks forward to facing Pujols.
"I've never been a guy to shy away from anybody," Wells said.