I fully admit it, at the end of last season I was calling for C.J. Wilson to pitch Game 1 of the American League Division Series. Considering the way he'd pitched all year and the way Cliff Lee had struggled at times it made sense. Turns out both pretty pitched damn skippy in the playoffs.
Of course, come Opening Day 2011, I never expected nor wanted manager Ron Washington to announce his No. 1 starter to be
Not that he didn't have a superb season. C.J. was a Top 10 starting pitcher in the AL last year. He won 15 games (10th in the AL), posted a 3.35 ERA (10th) and pitched 204 innings (18th) in 33 starts (fourth). He stayed healthy. He was consistent. He was, let's admit it, a No. 1 starter.
But, with Lee now in Philly, can Wilson duplicate 2010? For that matter, can Colby Lewis come close to his 2010 or, even better, his dominant playoff run?
Sure, it's possible. But after that it gets real iffy real quick in the Rangers' rotation. Brandon Webb has already been evaluated with insufficient arm strength and then there are guys like Tommy Hunter and Derek Holland and ...
Don't look now, but the Rangers' pitching staff in Surprise, Arizona may be only the third-best in their own dang division.
1. ANAHEIM ANGELS
When a lefty like Kazmir is your fifth starter, you know you're loaded.
2. OAKLAND A's
Not sexy names to casual baseball fans, but that's a nasty rotation despite the former Ranger at the tail end.
3. TEXAS RANGERS
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While Wilson and Lewis are coming off excellent seasons with post-season success, Hunter couldn't get out of a fifth inning in the playoffs and Holland had an infamous walk-a-thon in Game 2 of last year's World Series.
4. SEATTLE MARINERS
After Cy Young winner King Felix it's a crapshoot.