Wilson chalks up bad night to 'mistakes'
Angels starter's challenges vs. Astros continue
ANAHEIM -- C.J. Wilson doesn't necessarily see this as an Astros problem, a comforting sentiment when you consider the recent history and the ongoing importance.
The Angels' starter was chased after recording just 10 outs Tuesday night, giving up seven runs on eight hits, two walks, one wild pitch and one balk in an eventual 13-3 drubbing at the hands of the first-place Astros.
"The simple fact," Wilson said, "is that the pitches that they made contact on were mistakes. They were pitches that were in the middle of the strike zone; very hittable."
But over his last six starts against Houston, which is 11 games above .500 and 5 1/2 up on the third-place Angels in the American League West, Wilson has a 9.59 ERA and has been charged with 27 earned runs on 39 hits and 16 walks in just 25 1/3 innings.
"That's a mistake," Wilson said when asked about the Astros hitting him hard lately, pointing to the fact that he gave up just three hits -- and four walks -- in 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball at Minute Maid Park on April 18.
Last year, though, Astros hitters batted .330/.394/.536 against him.
"Everybody hit me last year," said Wilson, who finished 2014 with his highest ERA as a Major League starter. "I pitched against them with the flu last year and I was barfing between innings. Yeah, I didn't pitch a good game against them that time. But I had other games where I pitched well."
Wilson pitched with the flu in Houston on June 3, a start that saw him give up five runs in 2 2/3 innings and one he has previously pointed to as a reason for his second-half spiral. He then gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Astros on July 4. Then he gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings on Sept. 12. Then he bounced back with three runs (two earned) in five innings on Sept. 12 -- though Wilson allowed 10 baserunners that day.
"I don't think there's any mental block or anything against these guys," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's going to be fine. When he can make his pitches, he's going to have success. He just had trouble doing it tonight."
Wilson gave up just one run in 15 innings his previous last two starts, lowering his ERA from 3.92 to 3.39.
Then three of the first four batters he faced hit sharp line drives to left field, with Evan Gattis putting Houston on the board on a first-inning double. In the second, Wilson gave up back-to-back one-out singles to Luis Valbuena and Hank Conger, then struck out George Springer and hung a 3-2 slider to blossoming shortstop Carlos Correa, who blasted it well over the left-field fence to give the Astros an early 4-0 lead.
"If somebody is pitching and they throw me the same pitch that I threw him, I'm probably going to get a hit on it," Wilson said. "It's not a good pitch. It just didn't do anything. It's supposed to be breaking down and it just kind of spun."
Wilson only faced 10 more batters after that.
He got out of the third unscathed -- despite well-struck balls by Colby Rasmus and Domingo Santana, and thanks in large part to a slick play by Angels shortstop Erick Aybar -- but couldn't escape the fourth. Valbuena led off with a homer, Springer drew a one-out walk, Correa doubled, and then, after an intentional walk to Jose Altuve, Wilson was done.
It was his shortest start of the season, against an opponent the Angels are still chasing.
"It was either mistakes, or when I executed they still got hits," Wilson said. "Nothing really went my way today."