C.J. Wilson struggled again Wednesday night, as his former Rangers teammates knocked him out of the game in the third inning, and afterward he had what Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times describes as “a lengthy closed-door meeting” with manager Mike Scioscia.
According to DiGiovanna it’s the second such meeting Wilson and Scioscia have had since the All-Star break and clearly the first get-together didn’t do much good, as he’s got a 5.79 ERA in 14 second-half starts.
However, despite Wilson’s struggles and Jerome Williams’ nice long-relief outing after he exited Scioscia is sticking with him in the rotation because “we want him to get comfortable with some things and get back out there … I can’t overstate how much we need our starters to do what they’re capable of.”
DiGiovanna reports that Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher previously stressed to Wilson that he should be more aggressive and scale back his repertoire in an effort to avoid so many deep counts and walks. Wilson led the league in walks with the Rangers in 2010 and then cut his walks to 74 in 223 innings last season, but he’s already issued 83 free passes in 191 innings this year.
Wilson is in the first season of a five-year contract that will pay him $11 million in 2013, $16 million in 2014, $18 million in 2015, and $20 million in 2016.
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.