Sunday, July 17, 2011
C.J. Wilson beats another top pitcher
By Richard Durrett
SEATTLE -- C.J. Wilson didn't have his best stuff on Saturday. He admitted he was amped up early in the outing and was overthrowing and trying to do too much.
But he kept matching Mariners ace Felix Hernandez and when Seattle did get to Wilson in the fifth for one run, which ended the club's shutout streak, the Rangers offense picked Wilson up and the lefty made sure that was enough for the victory.
Wilson, ever the perfectionist, was replaying that fifth inning in his mind after the 5-1 victory. He said he violated one of the cardinal rules of pitching: He threw a strike to Ichiro Suzuki. The outfielder has had a marvelous career hitting those types of pitches and he did it in the fifth, knocking one up the middle to score Franklin Gutierrez with the team's only run.
"As soon as I gave up the hit to Ichiro I was like, 'Why did I even throw him a strike right there?'" Wilson said. "I should have just thrown stuff off the plate."
That's what he did later in the game to Justin Smoak, working around the switch-hitter with two outs in the sixth so he could take his chances with left-handed hitting Adam Kennedy, who grounded out to end the inning.
Wilson made some mistakes, but like a golfer hitting some loose shots to the correct part of the greens, he missed some spots where it didn't hurt him much.
"It's OK to miss if you go for the corner and miss off, they won't drive the ball," Wilson said. "As I go through the game, over the course of 100-something pitches, you are going to make mistakes. If you make your mistakes by not missing over the plate, you won't give up hits. You'll walk guys, but you can get around some things."
Wilson went seven innings on Saturday and earned his 10th win. It was the eighth time in his last nine starts that he's pitched at least seven innings and he has not lost since falling to Roy Halladay and the Phillies back on May 20.
"He did what he had to do when he had to do it," manager Ron Washington said. "When he had to make pitches, he did it. Guys battled him all night. It was two pretty good pitchers and it was a battle all night. I can't say enough about what C.J. gave to us. It could have been worse if he would have given in and not fought to make the pitches he did to get out of jams. He took it as far as we needed and the bullpen took it from there."