Friday, January 25, 2013

Ace in the Hole

I was in the building when the Texas Rangers began this cuticle-chomping journey to the doorstep of baseball glory. Tampa Bay 9 Texas 0. The same score of a forfeit, which is what it felt like my wife, son No. 2 and I had done with our time and money that day.

And yes, I was the one who tweeted from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington:

C.J. Wilson gave up 8 of the 9 runs (6 earned) in that playoff-opening loss - the only game they would lose to Tampa Bay. He was awful. Worse, he lost to a 22-year-old kid making his second career start. His subsequent starts were varying degrees of better, the most recent of which was Monday night's Game 5 outing in which he got through 1 out in the 6th, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits, 5 walks and 3 strikeouts in a game for which he - like St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter - would receive no decision but which the Rangers would ultimately win, 4-2.

At no time during the playoffs has Wilson looked like a legitimate ace, prompting a groundswell of Rangers fans to implore the team not to go all in when he becomes a free agent at season's end.

Some of it has to do with his personality. He's a little cocky, which may - and I can't substantiate this so it's just a guess - be a first for an athlete in a high-profile position on an elite team.

Some of it has to do with the involuntary facial tic we as Rangers fans still have whenever we hear "Chan" "Ho" and "Park" in the same sentence and the accompanying trepidation over emptying the vault for a starting pitcher.

Most of it has to do with how he's pitched in this year's playoffs. Regardless of the reason, we need to get over it.

In just his second season in the rotation and his first as the Rangers' No. 1, Wilson finished in the top 15 in all of baseball in wins (16),

- capped by a Game 5 no decision in which he 5.1 IP/4 H/2 R/1 ER/5 BB/3 K - CJ Wilson: Exasperating? Occasionally. Subpar postseason? Yes. True ace? Not yet. Lots of Rangers fans saying good riddance as he enters free agency. Seriously? In his 2nd year in the rotation and 1st as their #1 starter, CJ was top 15 in all of MLB in Ws, ERA, Ks, IP & starts. So you WOULDN'T want 5 more years of that? Is there so much starting pitching on this team that you're ready to kick to the curb one of your homegrown pitchers just as he's coming into his own as a starter.

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