Colby Lewis is returning to the Rangers rotation on Sunday, and there is much joy and celebration over that fact.
Although, really, there’s probably less joy and celebration than would have been expected six weeks ago, when it was thought that the Rangers needed a healthy and productive Lewis to solidify the rotation for the final month of the playoff race. Instead, with the Rangers up 8.5 games on Houston and 11.5 games on Seattle, Lewis’s return is more about being happy that a sentimental favorite is back on the mound, and seeing how much rust he can shake off in a handful of outings before the playoffs start.
The Rangers are supposedly going to sort of use a six man rotation, according to Jeff Banister, although it sounds like that might not really be the case, since the team wants to keep Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish on a regular schedule, and there are off days that through things off. A.J. Griffin, who had another rough start yesterday (4 IP, 8 runs, 3 home runs allowed), and who has gone 6 innings or more just twice in 14 starts since coming off the disabled list in late June, would seem to be the odd man out...Griffin did terrific work for the Rangers early in the year, but in his last 11 starts he’s allowed a 6.41 ERA and a 937 OPS, and appears to just be wearing down after missing two full seasons with arm problems.
That leaves the Rangers wanting to get Colby Lewis starts so he can hopefully get back to where he was earlier this year, while getting a handle on what he can offer come playoff time, and also keeping Derek Holland and Martin Perez on a somewhat regular schedule as the two battle for a potential playoff rotation spot.
Regardless, a Ranger team with Colby Lewis active and pitching is more fun than a Ranger team without Colby, and his pitching Sunday against Jered Weaver means that we will be seeing an exceedingly rare matchup of righthanded starters who don’t throw hard, so you can tell your kids about that.
And I just realized that Sunday will be one year since Colby had his near-perfect-game last season, on September 11, 2015. Another run at history is too much to hope for, but hopefully a solid return for Colbyashi will be in the cards...