C.J. Wilson believes the Texas Rangers have struggled because of their pitching performances, not because of the offense that suffered a blow when Nelson Cruz accepted a suspension.
"They're trying to pin it on Cruz not being there, but they're scoring plenty of runs," Wilson told MLB.com. "They're scoring more runs than they did on average the rest of the season. I think the pitching has been the big question mark for them because a lot of the relievers that they had got used up so much the first half of the year that some of those dudes might be breaking down.
"They're kind of grasping for how to get that rhythm back, I think, in the bullpen. And I don't know how their starters have been throwing, I just know that a lot of them don't have the win totals that you would expect for a playoff rotation. Like you don't have three 15-game winners. [Yu] Darvish is obviously a really good pitcher, and has great stuff, but he and [Derek] Holland, either they haven't been getting the run support or aren't pitching as well as they should."
The Rangers have averaged 4.87 runs per game since Cruz was suspended, but have only scored 3.58 runs per game in their last 24. The starters, meanwhile, did go through a rough stretch recently but went into Wednesday's game 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA over the past eight games.
The bullpen, meanwhile, has a 2.36 ERA over the past eight games, and have allowed runs in 11 of their last 27 games.
Wilson and the Angels come to Arlington for a season-ending four-game series beginning on Thursday. Wilson is scheduled to start Friday.
Wilson, who played with the Rangers from 2005-11, was a key member of the rotation during the 2010 and 2011 World Series runs. In 2010, he was the only member of the rotation to win 15 games while Tommy Hunter won 13 and Colby Lewis won 12. In 2011, Wilson and Derek Holland each won 16 games; Matt Harrison and Lewis won 14 games; and Alexi Ogando won 13.
This year, Darvish leads the team with 13 wins and Holland has 10. Martin Perez has nine, and Alexi Ogando and Justin Grimm have seven wins.
-- Drew Davison