The Cardinals fired the opening salvo in last night’s ballgame with a 3-2 victory over the American League Champion Texas Rangers. Despite a loss for the Rangers, they are fortunate it did not turn out much worse than it already was.
Last season, the Rangers had Cliff Lee as their game one starter and ace; this year it’s CJ Wilson. CJ Wilson may be the game one starter, but he hasn’t earned the ace moniker so far in his career. He began as a closer and only has been a starter for two seasons. Both years he posted modest win totals (15,16) despite playing for a pennant winning team. His 2.94 ERA this past season ranked 15th in baseball.
Baseball scouts agree on Wilson too. Joel Sherman wrote “I have yet to find a baseball executive or scout who views Wilson as an ace and very few who even think he is a definitive No. 2.”
Whatever the speculation is on him, you cannot deny CJ Wilson’s six walks in last night’s ballgame.Yes, that’s right; six walked batters in just 5.2 innings. Don’t forget the hit batsman; Albert Pujols who came around to score the first run of the game. Two of them were intentional, but that is still seven baserunners in less than six innings who were granted a free pass.
With that said, the Rangers were very fortunate the Cardinals did not take better advantage. Two of the walks were to leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal to lead off an inning. Two of the walks were followed up by a double play and one of those was after they intentionally walked Albert Pujols to face Matt Holliday.
For an offense that beat the Milwaukee Brewers into submission a few days ago, they sure didn’t put up anything extra. The old adage is ”walks kill” but CJ Wilson seemingly used six of his nine lives to tightrope past more damage. As inexcusable as six walks and a HBP are for Wilson, it’s equally bad for the Cardinals failing to take further advantage.
Still, three runs were enough and the Cardinals came away with a one to nothing advantage over the Rangers. But with these two powerful offensive teams, it’s highly doubtful a pitching performance like CJ Wilson’s will go anywhere near as well for the remainder of the series.