World Series Game 3: Colby Lewis Is Proof the Texas Rangers Can Come Back
To give a little more insight to the deficit, 40 of the 51 teams in World Series history to take a 2-0 lead have gone on to win the title. The last team to overcome such a deficit was the 1996 Yankees, who dropped the first two games at home to the Atlanta Braves before rattling off four straight wins.
If the Rangers are to start a comeback, they need to get the proverbial ball rolling with a win in Game 3. Seeking such a win, the Rangers will give the ball to a man who could inspire the reeling ball club: Colby Lewis.
Lewis is a comeback story in his own right.
He began his professional career as a first-round selection by the Rangers in 1999. Initially, Lewis was a hard-throwing righty whose M.O. was blowing his 95-mph heater by batters; however, four years and a 6.83 ERA in 33 career starts later, Lewis was waived by the Rangers and claimed by the Detroit Tigers.
That's when Lewis' career really began to spiral downward.
Lewis suffered a rotator cuff injury early in the 2004 season and missed most of the year rehabbing from surgery. After just two games with the Tigers, Lewis' stint with the team was over. He went on to have tours with Washington and Oakland before being out of baseball entirely in the U.S. by 2008.
In 2008, in a last-ditch attempt to resurrect his once-promising career, Lewis went to Japan where he signed with Hiroshima Carp of the Japanese Central League.
Once in Hiroshima, Lewis' luck seemed to change.
While in Japan, Lewis led the JCL in strikeouts in both 2008 and 2009, and was second in the league in ERA at 2.68 in 2008.
When asked about his turnaround in performance, Lewis said, "When I was young, I didn't have command of the strike zone, I tried to throw the ball by everybody. I don't know if you ever master the art of pitching, but I'm able to take a little bit off my pitches, sink the ball. For me, it's all about being able to locate pitches where you want to locate them. I've done that the past couple of years."
Rather than stay in Japan, where he had gotten his groove back, Lewis opted to capitalize on his late-blooming success and test the free-agent waters of the Majors in 2010.
As it turned out, Lewis' decision might just have been the best thing to happen for the Rangers.
With several teams jockeying for the services of the former first-round washout, Lewis opted to come back to Texas, signing a two-year deal worth five million dollars on January 14th.
Knowing the risks involved in the signing, Ranger GM Jon Daniels went on record as saying, "We feel this is the type of risk we should be taking. We know the makeup, we know the person, we spent a lot of time watching him. There's no doubt we were in a position to make this acquisition because of the work our scouts have done over there developing a foundation. They understood what it took to acquire one of these guys."
The risk paid dividends for the Rangers as Lewis compiled a misleading 12-13 record with a 3.72 ERA in 32 starts. He also led the team in strikeouts and served to stabilize a rotation that resembled a hotel lobby revolving door, with starters Scott Feldman and Rich Harden having proven ineffective.
Following his regular-season success, Lewis has continued to show why he could potentially spark a Ranger rally in the World Series: He pitched valiantly in a loss to Tampa Bay in the ALDS, and won twice against the Yankees in the ALCS, going eight innings in the series-clinching Game 6.
If the Rangers are to dig out of the hole they've made for themselves, they're going to have to start in Game 3.
Again, the Rangers are instilling their hopes in Colby Lewis.
So, while the Rangers look to write their own comeback story in Game 3, Colby Lewis is aiming to add another chapter to his.
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