Wilson silencing any overrated talk
Is CJ Wilson overrated?
There are plenty of big-league players who apparently think so, although it's doubtful any of them play for the Colorado Rockies.
The Angels left-hander certainly must have made believers of those who called him the most overrated pitcher in baseball in a Sports Illustrated poll this week. In fact, what he's done this season might be All-Star Game-worthy.
Wilson offered another spectacular effort Friday night, this time against the Rockies in a 7-2 Angels victory at Coors Field. Wilson won his seventh game of the season, lowered his ERA for a sixth consecutive game and earned his 50th career victory.
In eight innings, he allowed just one run, struck out nine to match his season high and didn't allow more than two base runners in any inning.
Does that sound overrated?
You could even make a case for Wilson as the Angels' stopper. Six of his wins have come after losses, and he's given up more than three earned runs in a game just once in 13 starts. In his past four starts, he's surrendered just two earned runs in 28 innings, a 0.64 ERA.
Wilson had his full quiver of pitches working, retiring the first 11 batters of the game (seven on strikeouts) before he gave up his first hit, a bunt single to Carlos Gonzalez. He might have tired in the eighth when he walked pinch hitter Chris Nelson before Dexter Fowler followed with a single, but he retired Marco Scutaro on a fly ball to left.
Of course, any pitcher will tell you it's easier finding a comfort level when he's given a lead, and Wilson had one. Torii Hunter's two-run homer in the third inning out of the No. 2 spot in the order helped, and Hunter added another two-run shot in the fifth, finishing with six RBIs.
The Angels have gotten little production out of their No. 2 hitters this season, but manager Mike Scioscia indicated he'd prefer having Hunter in a spot where he can drive in runs. Hunter can get those opportunities in his usual fifth spot, but Scioscia may want to give it another try if leadoff man Mike Trout, who reached base four times and scored three runs, continues getting on base.
Those two produced plenty of runs for Wilson, whose 2.39 ERA is second lowest in the American League.
Anyone who considers him overrated might want to reconsider their vote. If anything, he's underrated.
NOTE: The Angels optioned 26-year-old reliever Bobby Cassevah to triple-A Salt Lake after Friday night's 7-2 win over Colorado.