C.J. Wilson(notes) is still waiting to find out which team he’ll face next week when he makes his first career playoff start. The Texas Rangers left-hander would like to make his postseason debut coming off a victory.
Looking for his first win in more than a month, Wilson makes his final regular-season start Saturday night against the Los Angeles Angels as the AL West champions try to reach 90 wins for the first time since their last playoff appearance.
Despite not starting a game since his rookie year in 2005, Wilson (14-8, 3.35 ERA) has made a seamless transition into the rotation, leading the club in wins, innings pitched (199) and complete games (three).
Wilson, though, went 0-3 with a 6.26 ERA in five September starts after going 7-0 with a 1.99 ERA in his previous nine outings. His last victory was Aug. 30.
Already named the starter for Game 2 of the AL division series on Thursday against Tampa Bay or the New York Yankees, Wilson said he is not treating his final regular-season starts with any less importance.
“Spring training is for getting ready and getting your work in,” he told the Rangers’ official website after giving up six runs and eight hits over five innings of Monday’s 7-5 loss to Seattle. “You go out there to play. It’s the major leagues. You want to do well for all sorts of reasons. Obviously, you want to go into the playoffs feeling good about yourself.”
Wilson, 10-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 18 home starts this season, is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in four outings against the Angels in 2010.
While Wilson will try to help the Rangers (89-71) reach 90 victories for the first time since they went 95-67 in 1999, the Angels (79-81) have their sights set a little lower.
Los Angeles, a 5-4 winner in 11 innings Friday, can avoid its first losing season since 2003 if it wins out.
The Angels, tied with Oakland for second in the West, will give the ball to Ervin Santana(notes) (17-9, 3.83), who is trying to add to his career-high win total. The right-hander has won his last four decisions and is 9-2 with a 3.91 ERA in 14 starts since the All-Star break.
Santana, 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA in three starts against Texas this season, has won the last three times he’s taken the mound in Arlington.
He has yielded just three hits in 21 matchups against Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton(notes), who is expected to be the designated hitter Saturday after returning to the lineup Friday following a 24-game absence with two fractured ribs.
Hamilton was hitless in three at-bats, but continues to lead the majors with a .359 batting average.