ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Pitcher C.J. Wilson #36 of the Texas Rangers pitches while taking on the Tampa Bay Rays during Game One of the American League Division Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 30, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
What made the Texas Rangers ALDS win over the Tampa Bay Rays so impressive was that the Rangers, who were thought to have the disadvantage in pitching depth, got a clunker from their ace, C.J. Wilson, and then won the next three games.
In a 7-game series that will start Saturday against either the Detroit Tigers or New York Yankees for the right to go to the World Series, C.J. Wilson will start Game 1. Everything after that is up in the air right now, but even after Wilson's bad start in Game 1 of the ALDS, he'll be back on the mound to start the ALCS.
Wilson went just five innings and gave up six earned runs last Friday against the Rays, which qualifies as a bad start. But those starts from Wilson this year have been very uncommon.
In fact, not counting his final regular-season start when he went 2 innings against the Angels to gear up for the postseason, Wilson had just four starts of 5 innings or less in the regular season.
The first of those came in a no-decision against the Angels, which he followed with a 7-inning outing against the Phillies, who won 3-2 behind Roy Halladay.
At the end of July, he actually had two straight bad starts against the Blue Jays and Twins. After those, Wilson went 6 2/3 innings against the Cleveland Indians, allowing just two earned runs and got a no-decision in a game the Rangers lost.
In his last subpar start in the regular season, Wilson went 5 innings and gave up six earned runs to the Angels, but then turned around and had three straight wins in which he pitched 6, 9 and 8 innings, including his only career complete game shutout against the Rays.
So the odds are the Rangers favor that Wilson will be back on his game Saturday, whether he's facing off against CC Sabathia or Justin Verlander.