C.J. Wilson's postseason track record is spotty. He came in with a 5.32 ERA over eight starts, and in those eight starts, the Rangers have gone 2-6. Monday night's Game 5 could be the last start the free-agent-to-be makes in a Rangers uniform, and so all eyes were curious to see if he would deliver, or if he would again come up short.
Well, Wilson's wound up somewhere kind of in-between. I'm assuming that his day is done, having allowed two runs in five innings of work. But it could have been much worse.
The Cardinals came to bat in the top of the fifth ahead 2-1. Skip Schumaker led off with a single. Nick Punto followed with a four-pitch walk, which at least seemed longer than four pitches thanks to a pair of pickoff attempts. That brought Rafael Furcal to the plate and Furcal, like Allen Craig earlier, was instructed to give up an out to move the baserunners along even though Wilson was struggling. Furcal succeeded, bunting the ball directly to Adrian Beltre. Beltre spun around and looked to throw to third, but Elvis Andrus wasn't covering, so Beltre threw to first instead.
So that brought Craig up with one down and a pair of runners in scoring position. The Cardinals were hoping for at least one run, but Craig swung right through a hanging 1-2 slider for a huge strikeout. Albert Pujols drew a predictable intentional walk, so it was up to Matt Holliday with two outs and the bases loaded.
At this point, by the way, Scott Feldman was up and ready in the Rangers' bullpen. Wilson was quickly approaching 100 pitches, and didn't have his command. Holliday's a righty and Feldman's a righty, while Wilson's a lefty. I have to think that the proper move would've been to bring in the help.
But Ron Washington didn't bring in the help, and on Wilson's 100th pitch of the game, he gave Holliday a 3-2 fastball that jammed him, and Holliday grounded out to short.
Wilson has thrown just 52 strikes out of those 100 pitches. He has five walks (albeit two intentional), and the Cardinals have given him two outs. But for five innings, he survived, and if his night is done, well, there were pluses and minuses. He's given his team a chance to win, which isn't worth nothing.