ARLINGTON -- One of few positives in what has so far been a down season for Angels starter C.J. Wilson has been the evolution of his changeup, a pitch he's been toying with the last few years and has finally came into prominence in 2014.
"I really committed to it in Spring Training," Wilson said. "I was going to [use] it no matter what happened."
Wilson -- 9-8 with a 4.71 ERA in 22 starts -- has thrown the changeup a career-high 12.6 percent of the time this season, up from 6.7 percent in 2011, 8.9 percent in 2012 and 5.9 percent in 2013.
It has basically replaced the cutter, giving him a pitch that's roughly five ticks slower than his four-seam fastball. And now that he's figured out how to consistently make it fade, the changeup has finally given the 33-year-old left-hander a pitch that tails away from opposing right-handed hitters, who are batting .258 against it.
Wilson said he's "thrown two bad changeups this year that I can remember. "
Now if only his other pitches were as effective this season.
"When I was on earlier this year," Wilson said, "I'd have good games because I would be able to throw changeups to the guy right away, instead of getting to the point where I'd have to get him to chase a slider or something like that."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.