ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Starting pitcher Colby Lewis #48 of the Texas Rangers pitchs against the San Francisco Giants in Game Three of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 30, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
For Colby Lewis, the 2010 Rangers' reclamation project that went better than ever expected, the 2011 season started out in nightmarish fashion.
After struggling to an opening weekend win over the Red Sox, Lewis struggled for the remainder of April, missed a start to be present for the birth of a child, but began May on the right track and never looked back.
In May, Lewis made five starts, compiling an ERA of 2.43 with a 2-2 record. In those two losses he gave up a combined five runs.
Then came Wednesday afternoon in Tampa when he went 8 strong, scoreless innings before giving way to Neftali Feliz who had a much-welcomed easy save to beat the Rays 3-0, lowering Lewis' season ERA to 3.48 after reaching a season high of 6.95 on April 25.
When things were going horribly for Lewis, the outlook for the Rangers pitching staff was pretty dire with the uncertainty of Matt Harrison and Derek Holland and the yet-to-be-proven Alexi Ogando. Entering the season, folks expected C.J. Wilson and Lewis to carry the staff and for a while that wasn't happening.
Now? The Rangers have six shutouts this season, and last year they threw eight in the entire season. In the pitching-heavy AL West, the Rangers have gone from the perceived worst rotation to possibly the best, and much of it is due to Lewis' turnaround.