Even with C.J. Wilson’s struggles on mound, Angels find way to win

C.J. Wilson on struggles: 'It's been different issues in different games, and that's why it's hard to pinpoint.'

Kirby Lee/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

ANAHEIM, Calif. — It says something about the Angels’ season that even on a day when they were pretty dreadful, they still found a way to win.

They made three errors, walked six batters, got another poor pitching performance from C.J. Wilson and blew a pair of two-run leads — but still won, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 at Angel Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

"We were fortunate," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It was one of the few games in the last month where we didn’t do a lot of things we’ve been doing."

More disconcerting is left-hander Wilson, who struggled for a fourth consecutive start. He had a 3-1 lead after three innings but couldn’t survive the fourth when he allowed five runs.

The Angels’ defense contributed to the problems, committing two errors — one by second baseman Howie Kendrick, another by first baseman C.J. Cron — that made three of the runs unearned. But Wilson was missing high with his fastball, and that was too much to overcome.

Albert Pujols delivers in moment made for Angels slugger.


Wilson hasn’t pitched beyond the fifth inning in any of his past four starts, and in that span he has allowed 31 hits and 19 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings.

"It’s been different issues in different games, and that’s why it’s hard to pinpoint," he said afterward. "It’s not like every game I go out there and give up 10 home runs or every game I walk 10 guys. Today it was a lot of singles that came in a row and a little bit of misfortune."

Perhaps, but the Angels are watching closely. Wilson said he has no major problems with his mechanics, and Scioscia said it doesn’t appear to be an injury that is throwing off his consistency.

"He says he’s fine," Scioscia said. "Naturally, when a pitcher like C.J. goes the wrong way for so long, you’re concerned. We’ve looked into a lot of things.

"I think C.J.’s confidence right now is maybe not where it has been before. His stuff looks pretty crisp. Whether he’s missing a pitch here or there or losing some counts, he’s just not getting it done the way he can. He will. He’ll get back to where he needs to be."

Certainly, the Angels will need him in the second half. And Wilson knows the longer he struggles, the tougher it is on the team’s bullpen to rescue him.

Wednesday, after Wilson was pulled with two outs in the fourth inning, six relievers combined to work the final 5 1/3 innings. Jason Grilli, who pitched a scoreless seventh, picked up his first win as an Angel.

"My level of frustration is just that I’ve been killing the bullpen," Wilson said. "We’re winning the games and that’s good — even the games like today where I just throw up a duck, and that’s not any good for the team. But the team overcame that."

It did, thanks to a two-run homer by Kole Calhoun in the fourth that tied the game 6-6 and a two-run shot by Albert Pujols that provided the winning margin.