Time for what, I'm not sure.
But it's time for something.
I could sense that C.J. Wilson was about to catch all kinds of hell from both fan and media circles as soon as he issued that five-pitch walk to Rafael Furcal to begin his night, and, unfortunately, that sequence did end up portending rather badly for the night as a whole. Yeah, the final raw results (three runs allowed in 5.2 innings) were passable, and the tale of the tape indicates that C.J.'s plan of attack was quite reasonable (pepper the bottom and inner third of the strike zone against right-handed hitters with fastballs/cutters, with a smattering of out-of-zone breaking balls designed to encourage poor contact and/or whiffs), but the elements needed to bring that plan together -- both command and control -- were just not there in sufficient quantities.
And to quote Lone Star Dugout's Jason Cole on the matter, "[It's the] same issue as other post-season starts for Wilson. The sharp slider -- which was a plus-plus pitch at times during the regular season -- and cutter haven't been there. [He] doesn't have the stuff to miss bats right now." Why this is the case, though, or why this is happening now of all times ... well, I don't think anyone has a real strong grasp on the underlying causes, or the reasons for the horrendous timing. I'm not sure even C.J. really understands why the process is failing him now.
You know, I haven't lost faith in C.J. -- he really has been a gem of a pitcher over the last two seasons, and I'd still like to see him back with this organization for both next season and beyond. I still believe that the vast, vast majority of this "C.J. is a headcase/choke job/can't pitch in the post-season" stuff getting peddled around is a load of garbage. But I called Michael Young out for his shoddy performance up through Game 4 of the ALCS, and I can't arbitrarily exempt C.J. from that same policy, so, again, I have to ask: Damn, really? That's what you're going to bring to the post-season table?
As was the case with Michael Young before that Game 4, we don't know whether C.J. is suffering from a rough mechanical spell, or is physically worn down/fatigued/hurting (though I suppose every player is hurting by this point in the season), or is putting too much pressure on himself to be perfect in a short-series environment. As was the case with Michael Young, he could still turn things around on a dime and pitch the game of his life in Game 5. And as was the case with Michael Young, I have zero doubt that C.J. wants to help this thing win a World Series as badly as any other player on the team.
But, unfortunately, sometimes your best just isn't good enough. C.J. doesn't have to pitch like an ace. He doesn't have to throw 7-8 shutout innings in Game 5. But he sure as hell does need to figure out some way to get this thing back on the rails, because in light of the way he pitched last night, he was damn lucky to escape with only three runs of damage on his ledger.
All of which leads into my second callout-which-isn't-really-a-callout -- Josh Hamilton. He looked positively 2009-esque at the plate last night, with a swing powered too much by his upper half and too little by his physically compromised lower half. He remarked shortly after Game 6 of the ALCS that he was playing at just 50 percent due to his injured groin muscle, but, if anything, he looks to be closer to 30-40 percent at present, with his anemic 0-for-4 showing at the plate yesterday engendering little additional hope of a miraculous in-series turnaround.
The Rangers are going to stick with Hamilton come hell or high water, and they're almost certainly going to do so with Hamilton plugged into the three-hole. Hamilton, in turn, is going to drag himself out there onto the field so long as he's still upright with a pulse. Perhaps that's the way it should be. On the surface, though, I'm seeing very little reason to believe that Hamilton is going to even remotely resemble an offensive asset for the remainder of this World Series, and that's a terribly sobering conclusion to arrive at.
Batting order may be very, very insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but something about Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli, and Nelson Cruz receiving fewer plate appearances per game on average than Hamilton at this point just does not feel right.