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C.J. Wilson was erratic but effective last night for the Rangers.
-- Is C.J. Wilson really worth the money he's going to get this winter? Look, I would never say teams should base their decisions strictly on a couple of postseason appearances, but something tells me the Wilson we saw during Game 5 last night is the same guy you'll see a lot during the regular season. The five walks and elevated pitch count weren't an anomaly. Wilson led the AL with 93 walks last season and posted a 3.0 walks-per-nine-innings rate this year that would have been higher than anyone in the Nationals' rotation besides John Lannan (3.7). I'm not saying Wilson isn't a good pitcher, or that he wouldn't be better than every Nats starter not named Stephen Strasburg or Jordan Zimmermann. But I'm not sure that alone is worth four years and $60 million, or whatever the left-hander is going to wind up getting on the open market. It can be a dangerous thing going after the best available free agent starter when it's a down year for those kind of pitchers.
-- Looks like Bryce Harper is starting to heat up in Arizona, just as you figured he would. Since beginning his fall league season 1-for-19, he's gone 8-for-23 with two doubles, a homer and five RBI. Throw in four walks and he's posted a .444 on-base percentage over his last six games.
-- Speaking of hot hitters in the AFL, Derek Norris is on fire right now. The catcher has six hits in his last nine at-bats, two of them homers (including one yesterday). Norris, always known for his good eye at the plate, has also drawn seven walks over his last six games, giving him a hefty .429 on-base percentage that ranks among the AFL leaders.
-- On the other end of the spectrum, Matt Purke received a rude welcome Friday during his first start in Arizona. The left-hander, drafted by the Nationals in the third round this summer, was tagged for seven runs on five hits in only one-third of an inning before getting yanked. Not what Purke had in mind when he took the mound, and perhaps a reminder that he's still getting his arm back in shape after sitting idle since early June. It's also a reminder that not everyone can just be thrown into the AFL without appearing in a minor-league game first. The Nats have Purke out there not because they think he's already a top Class AA or AAA talent, but because they want him to get work in, and Arizona is the best place for that right now. Even if it means he has to take a few lumps in the process.
-- With the World Series guaranteed to stretch until at least tomorrow and possibly Thursday if it goes the distance, don't look for the Nationals to make their much-awaited managerial announcement until the end of this week at the earliest. There's no real suspense here, of course, because it's all but guaranteed Davey Johnson will be returning to the dugout. But, as it's been noted, MLB prefers that teams don't make any significant announcements during the postseason. And while some other clubs have disregarded that edict, it appears the Nats are going to be good soldiers.
-- Besides, why would we want to take our attention away from this incredible World Series. Seriously, if you can't get interested in this one, there's really no hope for you.