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Facing same foe, Wilson follows Lee's lead

Facing same foe, Wilson follows Lee's lead

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SAN FRANCISCO -- In life, in flight and in baseball, it always helps to have a good wingman. And Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson has found that in Cliff Lee.

When reporters hounded Wilson, who gets the starting nod in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night at AT&T Park (6:30 p.m. CT on FOX), with questions about Lee's influence on him during the American League Championship Series, Wilson joked that before Lee arrived, he was a "right-handed second baseman."

follow the lee-der
A look at how C.J. Wilson has fared in 2010 when pitching the day after Cliff Lee against the same opponent:
Lee No Lee
4 Games 32
3 Wins 13
1 Losses 8
1.4 ERA 3.66
25 2/3 Innings 196 2/3
12 Hits 163
4 Runs 88
4 Earned runs 80
12 Walks 89
25 Strikeouts 158
0 Homers 13
0.94 WHIP 1.28
8.77 K/9 7.23
Includes postseason games

But Wilson does readily admit that having Lee pitch the game before him has often worked in his favor this year.

"Someone might have to do Hollywood magic and divide the screen and do an overlay on my stats following him versus not following him," Wilson said during his news conference at AT&T Park on Wednesday.

We took Wilson up on the offer. In four games pitching after Lee vs. the same opponent, Wilson is 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA. In 32 starts when he's not following Lee vs. the same foe, Wilson is 13-8 with a 3.66 ERA.

In one sense, the stats defy logic. Managers generally tend to want to separate their lefties, especially when those southpaws don't have dramatically different stuff or arm angles, as is the case with Lee and Wilson.

But in another sense, well, it makes sense. At least to Wilson.

"Everybody knows what [Lee] has, and he still goes out and strikes out 10 dudes in a playoff game," Wilson said. "It's like, what are you going to do? If they know what he's got and they still can't hit him, then why would they hit me? If I can pitch as well as him, I'll probably end up with the same results."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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