Just when you thought it was safe to stop worrying and look forward to the playoffs, C.J. Wilson gives you a reason to up the Xanax prescription.
Wilson pitched with a blister on the middle finger of his left hand on Wednesday night, a condition that definitely seemed to affect his command over the course of the night. Plenty of people have chosen to vent anger at home plate umpire Gerry Davis' strike zone, but watching Wilson it was clear that he wasn't hitting spots as well as he normally did.
The final results -- two runs in six innings -- were good, but it is hard to be thrilled with the start. Wilson only got strike one on 10 of the 24 A's hitters he faced and consistently putting yourself behind in the count is an awfully good way to wind up in trouble against lineups that can do more with their bats than Oakland.
That's not the only concern borne of Wilson's blister. You likely recall that Wilson had blister issues in the playoffs last season that negatively impacted two of his starts. He threw a blister against the Yankees in Game Five of the ALCS and pitched poorly in a Rangers loss and then had to leave early in his World Series start because the blister came back.
Wilson was a key part of the rotation last year, obviously, but the Rangers could work around his issues because they had Cliff Lee. If he is forced out of another game and the Rangers have to overwork their bullpen (which might be without Mark Lowe) this time around, they will be dealing with a loss from their ace and putting more pressure on lesser pitchers.
There's also the issue of Wilson's start on Monday against the Angels. If all works out well, the game will be meaningless for the Rangers and Wilson can throw a few innings and stay on track to start in Game One of the ALDS. If it doesn't, they will need Wilson to give it his all and that feels awfully risky now that the blister issue has returned.
If that game means a lot to the Rangers, though, there are bigger issues than Wilson's blister so we'll hold off on panicking about that unless it is absolutely necessary. The fact that the team's ace has revealed a flaw a week before the playoffs is plenty to worry about all on its own.