Angels’ C.J. Wilson finding success by throwing more strikes

Angels starter C.J. Wilson delivers a pitch during the fourth inning of the team's 7-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 12.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

Jerry Dipoto, the Angels’ general manager, recently presented C.J. Wilson with statistics on a sheet of paper. The key statistic Dipoto wanted to emphasize to Wilson: When you throw 60% of your pitches for strikes, you win.

Wilson threw 64% of his pitches for strikes on Tuesday, in the Angels’ 7-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. He gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings, winning for the first time since June 24 and pitching into the seventh inning for the first time since June 19.

In the seven starts in which he has thrown 60% of his pitches for strikes, he is 5-0 with two no-decisions. The Angels are 6-1 in those starts.


Wilson said he understood the efforts of Dipoto and the Angels’ coaching staff to keep his mind focused on one easy-to-comprehend goal.

“I kind of took it as, ‘OK, dude, whatever,’” Wilson said. “It kind of validates the simplicity aspect for them.”

After all, he said, he hears the suggestion to ‘throw strikes’ all the time.

“People from the stands always yell it,” Wilson said. “Brilliant coaching advice, especially from a guy in the 18th row who’s had four beers. I’m like, ‘Dang, I forgot.’”

The difference, he said, is in having command precise enough to throw a strike without firing right down the middle -- and in missing where you are less likely to get hurt. A hanging slider might get hit for a home run, but not a slider in the dirt.

That, Wilson said, is why he enjoyed watching Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw pitch last week.

“He’s so good with his slider,” Wilson said. “He’s missing down with his soft stuff. The reason why he’s so good is that all his misses are below the zone. Aim low. If you miss, miss lower.”