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04/11/08 8:07 PM ET
Rangers look to give Wilson night off
Closer saved both games of doubleheader on Thursday
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers went into Friday's game with the Blue Jays hoping to give closer C.J. Wilson a night off after he saved both games of a doubleheader against the Orioles on Thursday. "We don't want to abuse him," manager Ron Washington said before the game. Washington was still pleased that Wilson needed just a combined 18 pitches over the two games. Washington has been trying to emphasize "pitch efficiency" with Wilson, and 18 pitches over two games is superb. "You can't get more efficient than that," Washington said. "That's what I want to see. I hope he harnesses that and it continues. He's under control more and more calm. He's not wasting pitches. That's what you want to see as a closer. If they don't swing, it's a strike. If they do swing, the ball is in play." Wilson has only needed an average of 11.8 pitches per inning so far this season. He averaged 17.2 pitches per inning last year. He also walked 4.3 batters per nine innings last year. He has yet to walk anybody in four innings this season. "It's like I said earlier this year, I don't want to walk guys," Wilson said. "If I do that, I'll throw less pitches. Last year, Joaquin Benoit and I had a strikeout competition. Maybe we need to do something different. Maybe this year it's hits allowed. You've got to have some competition."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.