Wilson's slump continues with Game 1 loss

Wilson's slump continues with Game 1 loss

Wilson's slump continues with Game 1 loss
ST. LOUIS -- C.J. Wilson wasn't expecting to head into free agency like this. The Rangers' ace left-hander has lost the All-Star Game, Game 1 of the American League Division Series and Game 1 of the World Series all in the same calendar year.

Add a Game 5 loss to the Tigers in the AL Championship Series, and so far, the debacle is complete.

"It stinks. It stinks," Wilson said after dropping a 3-2 decision on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium to the Cardinals, who took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Fall Classic. "I'm here to win. I'm not here to lose. I'm not here to give up runs. I don't work all year to have these negative press conferences afterwards."

Wilson will be one of the top free agents out there once the World Series ends, and he is expecting to command top dollar on the open market. But each pressure-cooked loss in the chain of postseason events may be costing him money.

Wilson is now 0-3 with a 7.17 ERA in his four postseason starts, with a 1.83 WHIP and a telling 14 walks and a pair of hit batters in 21 1/3 innings. Only two rain delays in Game 1 of the ALCS may have kept those numbers from being any worse. In that one, Wilson was lifted in the sixth inning. His 5 2/3 innings of three-run, four-hit ball on Wednesday night was the closest he's come to a quality start.

And Wilson walked six and hit Albert Pujols in that one on a cold, windy and rainy night.

"It was a slider down and away, and I didn't want to give in to him," Wilson said. "I hit him in his foot, who cares?"

EARLY EXITS
In all 11 of their games this postseason, the Rangers have not had a starter pitch more than six innings.
Game Starter Inn. Dec.
WS 1 C.J. Wilson 5 2/3 L
ALCS 6 Derek Holland 4 2/3 ND
ALCS 5 C.J. Wilson 6 L
ALCS 4 Matt Harrison 5 ND
ALCS 3 Colby Lewis 5 2/3 L
ALCS 2 Derek Holland 2 2/3 ND
ALCS 1 C.J. Wilson 4 2/3 ND
ALDS 4 Matt Harrison 5 W
ALDS 3 Colby Lewis 6 W
ALDS 2 Derek Holland 5 W
ALDS 1 C.J. Wilson 5 L

If Wilson is frustrated, he certainly wore it a little close to the vest on Wednesday night.

"I thought I threw the ball pretty well," Wilson said. "I gave up a ground-ball single [to Lance Berkman in the fourth] that scored two runs. It was a cutter that was down and away. That's the way the ball bounces. I felt pretty good. Obviously, I walked some guys tonight on some close pitches. ... I don't really care how many guys I walk. I just care about how many runs I give up."

About his postseason, Wilson added: "The only thing I can control is my preparation, which is good. Mechanically, I've had some ups and downs. Everybody's watching, and if you do anything other than win, then that's it. That's the problem right there."

Wilson has said that he doesn't intend to dwell on his upcoming free agency or his future with the Rangers until the postseason is over. As a starter on a team that has won the AL pennant two years running, Wilson is 1-5 with a 5.32 ERA in eight postseason starts. His only win came in the ALDS last October against the Rays.

That was the end of his statistical playoff success, although on Wednesday night, Wilson matched veteran Chris Carpenter in a 2-2 tie until he was lifted for Alexi Ogando with runners on first and third and two out in the sixth inning. Allen Craig's pinch-hit single knocked in what proved to be the winning run, which was charged to Wilson.

"Truthfully, I thought [Wilson] was very good," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "I thought both guys were very good. The ball was very slippery tonight. It was hard to command."

Wilson, though, claimed the cold and rain wasn't an issue. He was able to combat all that with a little forethought.

"I wore an extra pair of underwear," Wilson said with a laugh. "There's only so much you can do. You can't go out there and pitch in a parka. You have to feel free to move. You try to warm your hands. I had to blow on my hands every once in awhile, but it really wasn't that much of a big deal. It was just a little bit of cold weather. It wasn't like pitching in snow or anything."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.