ARLINGTON, Texas – After six straight quality starts, C.J. Wilson could say, “Told ya so.”
He told the Rangers brass that he ought to be part of the rotation. He earned the right with a spectacular spring training. And he’s been even better once the games started counting, going 3-1 with a 1.51 ERA while becoming the third pitcher in club history with to open a season with this many consecutive quality starts.
“He’s following up what he said he could do,” manager Ron Washington said.
That seemed to be an understatement after Wilson’s complete-game performance in Friday night’s 4-1 win over the Kansas City Royals, which ended with the crowd chanting his “C.J.! C.J.!” as Wilson recorded a strikeout to seal the win.
“That was really rad,” Wilson said after outpitching reigning Cy Young winner Zack Grienke. “To have everybody raging like that, it was pretty sweet. … I mean, my same is easy to spell and say, so that helps out.”
It helps the Rangers’ AL West title hopes to have a lefty who looks like a legitimate ace.
Washington and Wilson act like the pitcher’s performance so far this season isn’t a surprise. Well, if the Rangers really expected this out of Wilson, what the heck took so long to get the guy in the rotation?
“Everybody knew C.J. had great stuff,” outfielder David Murphy said. “We didn’t know exactly what we were going to get out of him. He’s definitely blown everybody away.”
Wilson isn’t worried about proving anybody wrong. He hasn’t concerned himself with justifying his spot in the rotation since he was told that he earned it in the spring. He doesn’t allow negative thoughts, like doubts that the lefty had the mentality or control to succeed as a starter, to creep into his mind.
“Since I was told I was going to be in the rotation, I knew I was going to run with it,” Wilson said. “That’s really it. I mean, you can’t motivate yourself with negativity like that long-term. It helps you get over the hump maybe, but you can’t sit there and think, 'Oh, yeah, I’m proving everybody wrong.’”
It’s not like Wilson is satisfied. Moments after the first nine-inning complete game of his career, the guy was already thinking about getting right back into his routine to prepare for his next start.
“I still haven’t really done what I want to do yet,” Wilson said. “OK, I had a good April. April is over. It’s May now, so now I want to have a good May. That’s kind of the way I work. You don’t really change it, I guess. You have to always have the same goal and try to get it every time.”
He doesn't have time for, "Told ya so."