ANAHEIM, Calif. — A closed-door meeting in the manager’s office is never a good sign, so the fact CJ Wilson spent a considerable amount of time with Angels manager Mike Scioscia on Thursday afternoon probably indicated they had lots to talk about.
It can be assumed Scioscia did most of the talking.
Discounting a start in Texas that was shortened to one-third of an inning because of rain, Wilson had his briefest outing of the season Wednesday night, pitching just 2 2/3 innings against the Rangers before he was pulled in an eventual 6-2 loss.
“It was just a strategy meeting of trying to get his best stuff back out there on the field,” Scioscia said of their meeting, which lasted at least 30 minutes. “We have a lot of confidence in what he can do. We want to refine some simple things, without going into details.”
Wilson, 12-10 with a 3.82 ERA, is a talented left-hander who is known to overthink when he’s on the mound. He prefers to work hitters into favorable counts rather than throw strikes and get quick outs.
Wednesday night, facing his former team, he endured a 27-pitch first inning and walked the bases full before escaping unscathed. But in the third inning, he gave up a single, two doubles and a triple before Scioscia removed him in an attempt to keep the game close.
After the game, Scioscia said Wilson’s problem was more a matter of execution rather than a poor game plan. Asked about that on Thursday, he said, “It’s all inter-twined…. When he’s pitching great baseball, part of his talent is being able to do so much with the ball. Hopefully, he’s going to get comfortable and get back to that.”
Wilson, who is in the first year of a five-year, $77.5-million contract, endured an 11-start winless stretch through July and most of August. He won his first two starts this month but has allowed six earned runs in 7 2/3 innings of his past two starts.
Despite his bad patch, Scioscia said Wilson will make his next scheduled start Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners. Jerome Williams pitched well in relief of Wilson, throwing 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball against the Rangers, but he’ll remain in the bullpen.
“Jerome’s role is an important role also, especially when you’re down to these last dozen games,” Scioscia said. “At times you’re going to match up earlier in a game and at times you’re going to have not as long a leash with some guys. Jerome stepped in and pitched great baseball.”