In today's Spring Training tilt against the Seattle Mariners, the Texas bullpen faltered late, giving up 6 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning and losing 9-8.
Alex Gonzalez and Cory Burns struggled in that 8th inning, combining to give up 6 runs on 6 hits and a walk. In 2.0 innings of action, Nick Tepesch lost some of the momentum he had carried thus far during camp. In scattering 8 hits and a walk en route to giving up 3 runs, he possibly made the competition for two rotation spots even more interesting.
It's still early, indeed, but prior to Tepesch struggling, the starter for Texas was none other than Colby Lewis. Lewis made his Spring debut on March 3 against Cleveland. In that game, he only pitched 2/3 of an inning and gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks. Following that outing, Lewis offered up some insight on his mechanics.
My stride is so much longer now with so much more range in my right hip, that I'm just going to have more reps to find the release point. I had a certain way of going about my mechanics the last four or five years. Now I have to make an adjustment.
In light of that, it was speculated that Lewis might start the regular season in the minors in an effort to find some consistency with his release point. The hope, in that scenario, would obviously be that Lewis could offer up some sort of meaningful contribution to the Rangers in 2014. If today's outing was any kind of indicator as to where Colby Lewis stands, he may just surprise us all and snag a spot in the Opening Day rotation.
In 2.0 innings of work today against Seattle, Lewis gave up a hit and a walk while not allowing any runs to score. Perhaps more importantly, his fastball hovered around 87-90, consistently touching 89, which is a velocity range in which he has proven in the past can be effective for him.
Yes, it is still early, and a lot can happen before March 31, but it's nonetheless encouraging that Colby Lewis was able to go out and improve on his first outing while apparently looking sharp. During the outing, we were also treated to this tweet by Gerry Fraley:
Colby Lewis covers first trying to get a 3-6-1 DP. Shows no signs of problems with repaired hip.— Gerry Fraley (@gfraley) March 9, 2014
There's no guarantee that Colby Lewis can provide much, if any, value to the Rangers moving forward, but the hope remains that somehow, he can overcome yet another setback to his career and prove the odds wrong. If not, we'll still always remember the way he took over in the playoffs in 2010 and 2011. Yet, if somehow, he can once again defy all logic and help this club win, there isn't a doubt in my mind that he would be a welcome re-addition into the Rangers rotation.
Update: There's also this.
#Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux: Colby [Lewis] looked great, man. His stuff is there, his ball flight is there, everything you want.— Drew Davison (@drewdavison) March 9, 2014