When thinking about the Chicago Cubs pitching staff, names like Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, and Ryan Dempster come to mind.
But lately, none of those have been doing what Cubs rookie Randy Wells has been accomplishing.
Wells has been pretty much dominant lately. In his last eight starts, he's 7-1 with a 3.45 ERA, including getting a win in a 12-0 shootout of the Houston Astros Wednesday. He's lowered his ERA to 2.84 and is now 7-4 on the season.
"I wonder where we'd be without him," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said to the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday. "We really needed that (Wells' pitching on Wednesday). Our bullpen was pretty used up."
Chicago has had some problems with injuries in the rotation with Lilly on the DL and Dempster just came off the 15-day DL July 28 after a broken right big toe.
"He's been huge," Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee said. "He's probably been better than he could have expected."
Piniella has also said Wells is the surprise of the team this year.
Even though Wells isn't a big strikeout pitcher (he only fanned one in the win Wednesday), he's been limiting hits and not walking very many batters. Wells only walked two Astros Wednesday and has 21 for the season with a WHIP of 1.15.
Wells has 60 strikeouts for the season, with a season high of six against the Chicago White Sox June 26.
Wells is now starting to be in talks for National League Rookie of the Year, but he does not want to talk about it.
"I don't even want to talk about it," Wells said to the Sun-Times. "I don't want to answer that question."
Wells commented that he's trying to stay focused and stay on this "little ride I'm on."
If Wells wins NL Rookie of the Year, it would be the second year in a row a Cub has won the award. Catcher Geovany Soto won the award last year, and Wells could become the first Cub pitcher to win the award since Kerry Wood was Rookie of the Year in 1998.
If the Cubs continue the run they've been on since the All-Star break, Wells is a big reason why.