The Los Angeles Angels continued their rough season on Friday night by assuring themselves a losing record with a loss to the Texas Rangers. CJ Wilson pitched fairly well for LA, but he got himself into trouble in the third inning by throwing two wild pitches, issuing a walk and hitting a batter. After the game, the left-hander blamed the baseballs.
Wilson suggested that he got a batch of baseballs in the third inning that were not properly rubbed down.
“One out of every four was rubbed, and three of every four was basically brand new,” he said, via the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. “The balls were kind of squirting around. A couple balls got away. If you’re a lefty and you hit a lefty with a slider, that’s obviously not what you are trying to do right there.
“I don’t know. All I know is that every couple balls, ‘Oh this is a good one.’ I’d have a little grip and they’d foul one off and the next one came out and it was like no, no, no. We changed more balls than we would normally change. I told the clubbie, ’Dude these balls are getting really bad. Someone might get hit in the teeth.’ My ball moves a lot already. When the ball is slippery it’s even worse.”
If Wilson got a batch of balls that were not properly rubbed down, you would assume it was a mistake. He didn’t seem to think so.
“Are you going to call it a coincidence?” he asked. “It’s not a coincidence. Let’s be honest.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia agreed that Wilson was given a few balls that were brand new, though he stopped short of accusing the Rangers of doing it intentionally.
“We had a couple of baseballs that still were taken right out of the box, still had packing dust on them,” Scioscia said. “They weren’t rubbed up at all. So, C.J. just had to do a little more work on them to get them prepared. He didn’t say the grip was any issue, but we had a number of balls that came back that they may have taken the paper off and put them in the box.”
Wilson’s assertion that it was not a coincidence and that Texas allegedly gave him bad balls is a fairly serious accusation. The Rangers are currently fighting for a wild card spot, and that would be cheating. They could always claim it was a mistake, so there’s really no way to punish them for it. That doesn’t make it any less interesting.