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ARLINGTON, Texas -- C.J. Wilson played the conspiracy theory game after his Los Angeles Angels lost to his former team, the Texas Rangers, 5-3 on Friday night in a game he started.
Wilson blamed a spectacularly erratic top of the third inning -- which saw him throw three wild pitches, hit two batters and give up a walk -- on what he said were baseballs that were not properly rubbed up, a process that takes place before every game.
The umpiring crew is in charge of the procedure. It's typical that an umpires room attendant handles the rubbing down of the baseballs. But it's the responsibility of the crew chief, in this case Ted Barrett, to make sure the baseballs are ready to go.
Wilson is having a season worthy of American League Cy Young consideration. At least he should get some votes. He's 17-8 with a 3.39 ERA. But the third inning simply got away from him -- well, unless you believe his side of the story.
He hit two straight batters, including A.J. Pierzynski, to force in a run to snap a 1-all tie. Then Wilson threw a wild pitch that Alex Rios scored on for a 3-1 Rangers lead.
After the game, Wilson said he found issues with the baseball being too slippery.
"One out of every four was rubbed up," Wilson said. "And then three out of every four were basically brand new. The balls were kind of squirting around; a couple of balls got away. If you're a lefty and you hit a lefty with a slider, that's obviously not what you're trying to do right there.
"We were just changing the balls out because it's like, there's really, it's what do you say about it. You going to call it a coincidence? It's not a coincidence. Let's be honest."
After Wilson drilled Pierzynski on the elbow, he proceeded to retire 10 batters in a row before a walk and a single in the bottom of the sixth. Wilson got out of that inning by getting Leonys Martin to line out to center field.
Wilson said he made adjustments to get his outing turned around.
"You just make adjustments, you just try to figure out and sometimes it just takes time," Wilson said. "You figure out what pitches are going to work and what pitches are not going to work. And after the first three innings, I settled down a little bit and had more command of my four-seamer and my changeup and my two-seamer.
"You're not really able to throw awesome sliders in a situation like that because you're sweating too much and there's nothing working. You've got to make adjustments, and I went with my fastball and oddly enough did better. I went out there fastball-changeup, which is actually plan C or D for me; usually it's fastball-slider and curveballs. I got out of all the jams tonight with fastballs."
Rangers manager Ron Washington said Saturday morning that home plate umpire Mike DiMuro notified him about Wilson's concerns over slippery baseballs.
"I've been in the game since 1970," Washington said. "I haven't seen a game ball until it was in the game."