Brian Wilson was calmly packing up for the Dodgers’ road trip to Arizona after another loss to the San Francisco Giants, wearing a black sport coat, a pink T-shirt underneath and a rastafarian hat. Just another day at the office.
Wilson faced two batters in the seventh inning of a tie game Sunday and retired both. This has become Wilson’s new normal: pitching in high-leverage situations in every inning except the ninth. Eight of his last nine appearances have come in 0-, 1-, 2- or 3-run games. None have been in the ninth inning.
And Wilson is thriving. He’s allowed one run in 12 appearances (the lone run he allowed got him stuck with the loss in Cincinnati on Sept. 7).
“I didn’t start off pitching the ninth inning in my career,” Wilson said. “As long as I’m out there competing, I think every inning’s just as important.”
But is the adrenaline the same?
“I don’t pitch off adrenaline,” he said. “I don’t pitch with emotion. I’ve been playing this game for a while now, and I pitch to my strengths. There are some situations that dictate higher levels of energy, but sometimes it can get a little out of control if you don’t use it the right way.”
So there you have it. One of the most demonstrative, colorful players in baseball doesn’t pitch with emotion.
I suppose you never know until you ask.
Some bullet points for a Mexican Independence Day: