Texas Rangers’ C.J. Wilson: Starting Pitching Will Be the Deciding Factor in the World Series
Everybody’s talking about the big bats and offensive firepower heading into the World Series. If anybody needed a reminder as to what the Texas Rangers could do, they put up a nine-run inning and 15 runs overall in clinching the American League pennant. As for the St. Louis Cardinals, they put up 12 in their series-clinching Game 6, the second time they put up a dozen against Milwaukee. With all the talk about the offense, Rangers starter C.J. Wilson says whichever team gets the best play out of their starting pitchers will go on to win the series. And given how that’s gone compared to how the offenses have played, we probably shouldn’t expect too many 1-0 games.
C.J. Wilson joined ESPN Dallas with The Ben and Skin Show to discuss the World Series matchup, if offensive momentum will carry over from the 15-run game, why hitters are getting the best of pitchers in the postseason, how he has pitched thus far, what it will be like for him to bat during the World Series and how the mentality is different this year for the Rangers than it was last year.
Break down the World Series for us:
“The best offense in the American League, the best offense in the National League. Some really aggressive managing and some really great bullpen use from both teams. We’re very equally matched. Whichever team has the better starting pitching this series is going to be the one that wins. We’ve both shown that we can hit anybody that’s off. … I don’t see a lot of 1-0 games, let’s just say that.”
Do you think Game 6 of the ALDS now means all the Rangers’ bats are on fire going into the World Series?:
“I think it’s a new series so you have to start from scratch in the sense that you can’t take anything for granted. … The way it’s going this year, I don’t know whether they transferred additional titanium into the wood this year or something like that, but it seems a little bit weird to have some of the best pitchers in baseball over the course of the year, everyone’s giving up hits and homers. … These are the same pitchers that, throughout the course of the season had ERAs below 3.5, and now all of the sudden everybody’s up.”
On what might be the reason for that:
“Some of that has to do with the fact that the hitters might be a little more locked in, but also, when you talk about the quality start thing … Matt Harrison has pitched great in two games but with 90 pitches he gets pulled out of the game. Our bullpen is so strong, we haven’t had to throw seven innings.”
What’s been the reason for some of your struggles in the postseason and are you confident you can return to old-school C.J. from the regular season?:
“During the regular season I had a lot of success and I had success against the Rays. I dominated them this year and one dude hit two home runs off me in the same game, which is pretty weird. … Some of it has to do with the fact that there’s a little bit different style of pitching you have to do in the offseason. … It’s like, ‘Oh, well, he’s only made it to the sixth inning once.’ But, yeah, I got pulled [in Game 1 of the ALCS] because we had an hour and a half of rain delays. That’s the way it goes. It’s a small sample size. I’ve had three games.”
What’s it going to be like to have to bat now that the World Series is here?:
“I’ve been taking batting practice for a week on the down low. You’re not supposed to talk about it, but now that we’re actually going, I have been hitting. It’s something that I always kind of stay on, because at some point I’m going to come up to bat … I have to be ready to take any angle, any advantage I can take on anybody. I’m not just going to shrug my shoulders and go, ‘I’m an American League pitcher so whatever.’ … I’m going to try to do great at everything I do.”
Is this year a little different than last year?:
“Last year nobody expected us to get there and a lot of us were surprised how well we played, because it was our first time. You can’t fault us for being happy and optimistic, and not really letting our guard down, but not really understanding what it was going to take to win. And we ran into the pitching buzzsaw of [Tim] Lincecum and [Matt] Cain where those dudes were just on. As we’ve seen this year, all the favorites are out.”