C.J. Wilson’s first Angels season a bust

Gary A. Vasquez-US Presswire

The Los Angeles Angels paid two-time American League champion C.J. Wilson precisely to do what he had done the previous two years for his Texas Rangers: stand and deliver when it matters most.

The investment has yet to pay off.

Set aside, for a moment, the fact that Wilson has had a mediocre-at-best season (12-10, 3.82 ERA). None of it would have mattered if Wilson could deliver in one crucial moment on September 19. In a mid-September matchup against his former team, Wilson was given the nod to keep his team’s playoff hopes alive.

A year ago, Wilson would have risen to the occasion with gusto. This time, he wilted in the evening warmth. The Rangers dominated their former ace, knocking him out of the game in the third inning. Wilson threw 66 pitches, allowing four hits and three earned runs.

In came Jerome Williams to clean up Wilson’s mess, and the reliever delivered, going 4.1 scoreless innings in an efficient 33 pitches. It makes one wonder whether Williams ought to take Wilson’s place in the rotation.

The Angels most likely won’t let it happen simply because of the money they’ve burned on Wilson’s five-year, $77.5 million contract. It’s a situation akin to Vernon Wells‘s frustrating 2011 season, in which he played nearly every game.

With 12 games left to play, there’s still hope for Wilson and for the Angels, who are now 3.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics for the final wild card spot. Wilson will get more chances before the season is over.

He’ll have to hope it’s not too late when he does.

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