As the Royals look to capture game three of the American League Division Series, the pitching matchup on Sunday appears to favor them. Kansas City will start its team leader and staff ace, James Shields (14-8, 3.21 ERA in regular season). The Angels will counter with C.J. Wilson (13-10, 4.51 ERA), who stumbled to his worst season as a starter in 2014.
The only issue? The Achilles heel of Wilson is something his opponents may not be able to exploit.
Wilson is the most walk-prone pitcher in the American League. He led qualified starters in the junior circuit in walks per nine (4.35) and walk percentage (11.2 percent). Kansas City walked in only 6.3 percent of their plate appearances.
It makes for an interesting matchup. Wilson faced the Royals twice this season. He walked four in both games. On May 23, he gave up one run. On June 29, he gave up four.
"It really just comes down to if I'm throwing the ball the way I want to throw it, it doesn't really matter who the lineup is," Wilson said on Saturday evening. "If I'm able to locate the way I want to locate, then I'm going to be throwing a lot of strikes on the edges of the strike zone, not throwing balls down the middle. You get hurt more often when you throw down the middle more than anything else. That's pretty much the way it is."
Here is how Kansas City’s starting lineup has fared against Wilson in the past:
1. Alcides Escobar: 1-for-12, .083/.154/.167.
2. Nori Aoki: 3-for-5, .600/.714/.800.
3. Lorenzo Cain: 4-for-7, .571/.556/.857.
4. Eric Hosmer: 2-for-11, .182/.182/.182.
5. Billy Butler: 4-for-19, .211/.400/.421.
6. Alex Gordon: 4-for-16, .250/.400/.250.
7. Salvador Perez: 0-for-3, .000/.250/.000.
8. Omar Infante: 7-for-15, .467/.467/.600.
9. Mike Moustakas: 1-for-5, .200/.200/.800.
FROM THE STAR
Ned Yost has shown willingness to adapt in October. His decisions may still incite criticism.
Rustin Dodd wrote a feature about Mike Moustakas.
Sam Mellinger wrote a column about why these Royals are built for October.
HERE IS SOME ROCK MUSIC
"Stubborn" by New Found Glory.