When a team scores 16 runs in game, especially a team like the 2014 Texas Rangers, it's hard to imagine anything but the bats being the story of the game.
On Tuesday nights when the Rangers put up 16 runs in a win over the Chicago White Sox, the prevailing story of the game was the performance of Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis. To put it simply, it was spectacular.
Let's call a spade a spade, the White Sox are no juggernaut, but they do have a good offense with plenty of bats in the lineup that will strike fear into opposing pitchers, and their offense had been on a tear since the all-star break ended a few weeks ago.
And Lewis shut them down, and did it with masterful precision: 110 pitches, six hits, seven strikeouts, one walk and a complete-game shutout — just the second of his career.
It was a huge positive moment for a club looking for anything positive this year, and it extended a good run of starts for the veteran righty who appeared to be finished a big-league pitcher through the season's first few months.
But over the past month, Lewis has been the Rangers' second-best starter, and on Tuesday he did something ace Yu Darvish accomplished for the first time in his career this season, and arguably against a better offensive club than Darvish pitched his shutout against.
"Colby Lewis was the show tonight," manager Ron Washington said. "I mean, he executed his pitches as well I have seen see him execute them. He never lost focus. He looked like the Colby we used to know."
Lewis was nearly unhittable thanks to his fastball that was getting up near 95 mph and placed low and away to the White Sox's powerful right-handed hitters. His off-speed stuff was also dazzling. It looked like vintage Lewis from back in the 2010 stretch run, similar to his last start against the Yankees last week.
Now, Lewis has made his best two starts of the season in his past two outings, and that's a great sign moving forward as Lewis has gone from a guy that seemed he'd be hobbling into the sunset over the last two months of the season to a guy who's pitching his way into the 2015 rotation, and it couldn't happen to a better competitor.
Lewis' progression over the final two months is another reason to watch a season that's otherwise lost. Enjoy it, I guess.