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C.J. Needs to Prove Worth

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    We said it all year, it looked like C.J. Wilson was finally growing into the role of a bona fide ace after the departure of Cliff Lee.

    Wilson had the lowest ERA of a Texas Rangers starter in 20 years (some guy named Nolan Ryan) with a 2.94 ERA and went 16-7 with 206 strikeouts.

    Those are numbers of someone on the verge of being an ace.

    So far in the postseason, however, he hasn't lived up to them.

    He had a 10.80 ERA in the ALDS with a loss in Game 1 to the Tampa Bay Rays and in the ALCS he has 4 2/3 innings under his belt and has given up two runs with five walks and six strikeouts in the Rangers' Game 1 win in which Wilson was chased from the game before the second rain delay.

    He showed one inning of brilliance in that game when he struck out the side in the fourth inning before the rain interrupted his momentum.

    Today, Wilson takes on the slam dunk Cy Young winner for this season, Justin Verlander. It's a game that, if Wilson wins, will give the Rangers their second-straight AL pennant, which would make them just the fourth team in the last two decades to do so.

    There's a lot riding on this start for Wilson, personally, as well. He's a free agent after this season and in the regular season was said to be a guy that could easily command a $100 million deal.

    If Wilson doesn't get things going in the postseason, he'll be labeled as a big-game failure (he doesn't have a postseason win since the 2010 ALDS against Tampa Bay).

    It's all in front of him, now he just needs to go perform and turn in a good 7- or 8-inning performance and battle Verlander toe-to-toe, which he can do when his stuff is on.

    Then we'll talk nine-figure salaries.