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Rangers’ Pitching Propelling Playoff Performance

CJ Wilson with his signature blue glove CJ Wilson with his signature blue glove

The 2010 MLB post-season has been a story of dominant pitchers. There have been some great hitters doing their thing, but by and large, the men on the mound have dominated the spotlight. The Texas Rangers are no exception. The starting pitching duo of Cliff Lee and CJ Wilson came up with whopping performances to give the Rangers an early lead in their American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cliff Lee pitched Game 1 for the Rangers and threw seven innings, giving up just one run. He also struck out ten batters without walking any. Lee, who was the Philadelphia Phillies' starting pitcher in the 2009 World Series, is a boon to the Rangers not just for his pitching prowess, but also for his playoff experience.

In his first game of last year’s World Series, Lee pitched a complete game, once again striking out ten batters without giving up a walk. Lee was traded from the Phillies to the Seattle Mariners before winding up in Arlington with the Rangers.

His new club has never won a playoff series or a post-season home game. They haven’t even been to the playoffs in eleven years, so having a player with Lee’s experience is invaluable for the Rangers’ 2010 playoff drive.

Following Lee’s performance in Game 1 was CJ Wilson in Game 2 of the ALDS. Wilson allowed no runs in his 6+ innings of baseball, giving up two hits and two walks while striking out seven batters.

Wilson is a California native who has spent his entire career with the Rangers. He debuted in 2005, and spent most of the past seasons has a relief pitcher. In 2010, he took on the role of starter, and has flourished under the new responsibility.

Wilson is also well-known for his quirks of personality. While most baseball players sport the conventional brown-ish glove, Wilson is never without his blue glove. It might seem a small thing, but it is rare to see a colored glove, and the blue one has become Wilson's signature.

In addition to that perhaps minor idiosyncrasy, Wilson describes himself as “straight edge,” referring to a philosophy rooted in hardcore punk rock. Living a straight edge lifestyle means Wilson never smokes, drinks alcohol, or does drugs. He claims never to have drunk a beer, and is so devoted to his lifestyle as to have acquired a large tattoo across his torso bearing the words “Straight Edge.”

Quirks or not, the Texas Rangers are just happy to be winning games. As long as the MLB team gets performances from Cliff Lee and CJ Wilson like they did to open the American League Division Series versus the Tampa Bay Rays, they won’t have much to complain about. In fact, those types of outings could mean a trip to baseball’s biggest stage, the World Series. It’s a rough road out of the American League, but after a lengthy absence from the post-season, the Rangers are ready.

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Last modified on Thursday, 30 June 2011 05:41

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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