Commentary

Game 5 blueprint for C.J. Wilson

Holland won with breaking balls in Game 4; Wilson should follow his lead in Game 5

Updated: October 24, 2011, 10:52 AM ET
By Paul Swydan | FanGraphs
C.J. WilsonDilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesC.J. Wilson favored his cut fastball in Game 1, but the approach didn't lead to a victory for Texas.

Derek Holland's masterful performance in Game 4 helped the Texas Rangers even the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals at two games apiece. However, if the Rangers don't win Monday, they will head to St. Louis needing two road wins to take the series, which means they need a big performance in Game 5 from No. 1 starter C.J. Wilson.

Wilson, of course, has not had the smoothest postseason. The lefty has allowed 19 runs in 21 1/3 playoff innings this year, and while he was decent in Game 1 of the World Series (three runs allowed in 5 2/3 IP), he walked six men and whiffed just four. In breaking down the Wilson's Game 1 performance, one thing that sticks out is how he mixed up his pitch selection, as he threw his cutter much more frequently than he normally does. During the season, Wilson threw his cutter roughly 16 percent of the time. But in Game 1 he pumped in cutters on nearly half of his offerings.

He did so with good reason. According to FanGraphs' pitch values, the cutter was Wilson's best pitch this season on a rate basis, and over the past three seasons it has been the third-best in baseball.