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Here's how the Royals kept C.J. Wilson to the shortest starter playoff appearance ever

The Royals knocked CJ Wilson out of the game last night after 0.2 innings, was it a surprise?

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The purpose of this article is to see if I can write an article about CJ Wilson's start on Sunday and reach the 150 word minimum. I probably can, but let's also try to break down Wilon's start. We'll begin with this: CJ Wilson isn't a very good pitcher. There was some debate on whether the Angels should have started him Sunday over basically anyone else in the rotation. When you owe a guy roughly $40M over the next two years, teams seem to have some sort of obligation, whether justified or not, to start him as much as possible (like a Barry Zito disorder). Thus, the Angels trotted out a pitcher in game 3 down 2-0 in a series that I probably wouldn't have even started in game 3 if my team were up 2-0.

Here's CJ Wilson this

C.J. Wilson 31 31 175.2 7.74 4.35 0.87 0.306 70.50% 47.80% 11.30% 4.51 4.31 4.11 0.6

He's not terrible in the sense that there are certainly other worse pitchers, but he's terrible in the sense that there are certainly better pitchers than him...a lot.

(By the way, we reached 150 words)

Here are the qualified pitchers closest to fWAR to Wilson this year:

John Danks White Sox 193.2 5.99 3.44 1.16 0.291 71.90% 42.30% 10.40% 4.74 4.76 4.62 0.8
Edinson Volquez Pirates 192.2 6.54 3.32 0.79 0.263 77.50% 50.40% 9.10% 3.04 4.15 4.2 0.7
C.J. Wilson Angels 175.2 7.74 4.35 0.87 0.306 70.50% 47.80% 11.30% 4.51 4.31 4.11 0.6
Hector Noesi - - - 172.1 6.42 2.92 1.46 0.29 70.40% 38.00% 12.70% 4.75 4.83 4.29 0.5
Kyle Kendrick Phillies 199 5.47 2.58 1.13 0.29 70.50% 44.60% 11.00% 4.61 4.57 4.35 0.4
Shelby Miller Cardinals 183 6.25 3.59 1.08 0.256 76.90% 39.90% 9.90% 3.74 4.54 4.47 0.2
Chris Young Mariners 165 5.89 3.27 1.42 0.238 80.20% 22.30% 8.80% 3.65 5.02 5.19 0.2
Roberto Hernandez - - - 164.2 5.74 3.99 1.04 0.266 72.90% 49.70% 12.20% 4.1 4.85 4.52 -0.5
Eric Stults Padres 176 5.68 2.3 1.33 0.296 73.00% 43.30% 12.50% 4.3 4.63 4.17 -0.6

Those aren't just the closest fWAR players though, but the bottom 9 qualified starters this year. So in game 3 of the ALDS, down by 2 games, the Angels started a bottom 10 pitcher. Coincidentally, there was a lot of dust kicked up about the Pirates starting Volquez in their Wild Card game. A Wild Card game Pittsburgh would lose handily.

The Angels rotation was obviously hurt by the loss of Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards, so their options were limited, but they still could have started Hector Santiago who they traded for this past offseason and started last Sunday.

Hector Santiago 24 127.1 7.63 3.75 1.06 0.288 72.90% 30.70% 8.00% 3.75 4.29 4.57 0.7
C.J. Wilson 31 175.2 7.74 4.35 0.87 0.306 70.50% 47.80% 11.30% 4.51 4.31 4.11 0.6

In 50 less innings, Santiago was better or equal to Wilson (some of those innings came in relief). This isn't the point of the article, and Santiago may not have done better or worse than Wilson.

The point of the article is to look at how ineffective Wilson was and he was pretty ineffective.

The game started off just fine for Wilson. He got a two-pitch ground out by Alcides Escobar on this pitch:

That was a 93 MPH sinker.

After that the water got choppy. Wilson allowed back-to-back singles to Aoki and Cain on these pitches.

A 92 MPH fastball to Aoki and a 93 MPH sinker to Cain. Both in the zone and both hittable pitches.

Wilson also made it out of trouble as he sat Hosmer down on a strikeout looking. Wilson abandoned the fastballs that bit him in the previous at bats and worked Hosmer with breaking stuff.


Hosmer may have gotten a bad call on the third strike, but luckily for the Royals that was only the second out of the inning.

Four straight pitches, four straight balls. Butler hasn't walked as much this year against his career, but two of those really weren't close and regardless of where pitch #4 was, Butler was taking it probably.

Here's where Wilson's day ends:

Gordon gets a slider that breaks away from him yet still get good enough wood on it, partially thanks to his bionic forearms/biceps, and nearly puts it over the wall.

It's a small sample size to be sure, but every time the Royals put a ball in play they did so on a pitch in the zone and only whiffed once in the brief inning. That's a credit to the Royals in part and the lone strikeout in the inning came off a called third strike.

I noted on Twitter last night that Wilson's pitches look flat. I wasn't in the perfect seat to get a good read on his pitches but I was basically behind the third base dugout, a row back, and basically 100 feet or so away from Wilson. Pitch F/X shows that slider wasn't moving horizontally as it normally does, the sinker wasn't dropping as much  and his four seamer was quieter. On the other hand though, his curveball had nearly an inch more break than normal

Wilson Break

This is all extremely small data here. We're talking about 23 pitches over two outs. Wilson was actually a little more juiced up yesterday as his fastball velo averaged 2 MPH over his 2014 average.

Basically Wilson was either throwing balls well outside the zone or good pitches to hit and the Royals pounced for three early runs on a walk and three hits. Good for them. Bad for CJ Wilson.