June 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis (48) pitches to the Colorado Rockies in the first inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Today Texas Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis will finally be able to face batters in game situations. The last time Lewis faced any batters, besides batting practice, was back on August 3, 2013. The last time he play in a major league game was back on July 8, 2012 when the Rangers played against the Oakland Athletics. Colby pitched a good game, but had a lot of discomfort.
Stats from his time with the Frisco Roughriders in 2013.
Colby Lewis minor league stats. Provided by MiLB.com
As you can see, Lewis didn’t ever quite get back to form in 2013, and you can contribute mainly to his hip issues. But, in 2014 we have a new, rebuild, Colby Lewis. Lewis has said several times that he feels better and that this is the best he’s felt in the past 5 years.
Today: Lewis will a chance to show the Rangers what he can do today against the Cleveland Indians. Maybe to his benefit, Lewis will pitch to what could be a record crowd for a spring training game, because the Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will be at the game in the dugout. But, don’t worry, that won’t be a distraction for Lewis. Lewis is only scheduled to pitch one inning, but it’s a good start for him to make his way back to the Rangers starting rotation. Before Lewis had issues with his hip, Lewis was consistently throwing in this high 80s with his 4-seam fastball. When he want to Round Rock and Frisco for his rehab assignments in 2013, he wasn’t able to get that same kind of velocity. But now, Lewis is again pitching back at that speed, and that seems very promising he will be able to pitch on a very competitive level.
Washington commented about Lewis today and his one inning he’ll get today.
"“We want Colby to be here all year,” Washington said. “We’ll ramp him up how feel he should be ramped up.” (ESPN Dallas- Richard Durrett)"
Expectations: Today, Lewis should face the main part of the Indians lineup.
- Nyjer Morgan, CF
- Mike Aviles, 2B
- Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
- Ryan Raburn, RF
- Jason Giambi, DH
- Jeff Francoeur, LF
- David Adams, 1B
- Elliot Johnson, SS
- Luke Carlin, C
The main thing we should expect out of Lewis today is his command and velocity. To me, Lewis should us his one inning of work to get his fastball up in the high 80s and throw them for strikes. Along with his fastball, I expect to see him mix it up with his low 70s curveball to keep the batters of balance. When Lewis is able to change up his pitches between the two pitches, he is very effective and is able to strike batters out.
Looking past today: After today, we’ll know a little bit more about Lewis. Hopefully he’ll come off that mound with a strike out or two and without any pain. So far he hasn’t had any issues, but in game pitching and batting practice are two different animals. But if he is healthy and pitches well, I expect the Rangers to start stretching him out more and more over time to see if he will be able to go the distance for a starting role. Lewis also commented on the difference between practice and games.
"“Games are important because I want to get used to the side-to-side motion and the game speed,” Lewis said. “You take PFP (pitcher’s fielding practice) and you get your feet underneath you and you take off. The game-speed stuff, you can’t predict sometimes what’s going to happen.” (ESPN-Dallas – Richard Durrett)"
As long as something bad doesn’t happen, we’ll see Lewis starting again. Being optimistic, if he continues to pitch well, there is an outside chance he could make the starting rotation. That could be helped because Alexi Ogando didn’t look well in his first start. But Ogando, like Lewis, will get more starts to prove himself during spring training. What will probably happen, unless Lewis is just stellar and going the distance by the end of spring training, then he’ll probably be sent to Round Rock. Not because he’s not healthy or maybe not ready, but the Rangers may want to see him get some more game situations. And if he does go to Round Rock, I wouldn’t expect him to stay there long. Probably just long enough for him to get threw a few games, and show he can go deep in a game.