C.J. Wilson looks to continue NY success

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C.J. Wilson will look to continue his recent success at Yankee Stadium in the series opener Friday.

There will be a ton of talent on the field Friday as the Los Angeles Angels start a series in the Bronx with the New York Yankees in a matchup of two of the five highest-payroll teams in baseball.

This season the Angels will hope to pitch better at Yankee Stadium than they did last year when they dropped three of four games and were outscored 31-19.

For the Angels, the series starts with C.J. Wilson on the mound, who owns a 2.41 career ERA in five previous starts at Yankee Stadium, giving up two runs or fewer in the last four of those.

Cause for concern?

C.J. Wilson
Last 2 Seasons

Through four starts, Wilson's ERA is up nearly a run over last year, but it isn't anything to get too concerned about yet. Most of the blame for the inflated ERA can be placed on a home run per at-bat rate that is more than twice Wilson's norm. He has given up one homer per start this season after giving up 15 all of last year.

Pitch selection

Last season Wilson used his slider 19 percent of the time, but so far in 2014 he has thrown the pitch only eight percent of the time. Instead, he has been leaning on more changeups, throwing it 13 percent of the time, compared to six percent last year.

The decreased slider usage isn't an indication Wilson isn't happy with the pitch. It is still one of his most effective pitches (.222 Opp BA in 2014), but he has been saving it for two-strike counts and higher-leverage situations.

The increased changeup rate on the other hand seems to be a strategy to keep right-handed hitters off of his fastball as 57 of the 58 changeups he has thrown this season have been to righties.

Wilson vs. Yankees

Among players on the Yankees that Wilson has faced at least 20 times, his numbers are very favorable against Ichiro Suzuki (.196 BA, 12 strikeouts) and Mark Teixeira (.118 BA).

The Angels lefty will need to pitch Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano carefully as they own .381 and .556 averages against him, respectively. After a slow start to his season, Soriano has been hitting nearly .400 over the last week and a half.