There for a good while, as the Texas Rangers' season quickly devolved into an all-out tailspin, we all sat and watched Colby Lewis struggle to pitch at the big-league level and thought it was sad how his career had been derailed by injuries and surgeries. In fact, Lewis had regressed from being the greatest postseason pitcher in Rangers history, which he still is, into a guy who looked like he didn't belong in the big leagues anymore after an elbow surgery, and most notably a hip resurfacing surgery no starting pitcher had ever returned from.
But lately, that tune is starting to change a bit.
Aside from an aberration of a horrible start against the earlier this month, Lewis has been the Rangers' second-best starter and not far off the pace set by ace Yu Darvish. His run continued on Wednesday night when he brought back flashes of the 2010 ALCS by dispatching of the Yankees in front of a packed house in Arlington with a seven-inning outing, his longest of the season.
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Aside from that start against the Angels when he allowed 13 runs in 2 1/3 innings, Lewis has a 3.26 ERA in his other five starts dating back to June 29, when he pitched well in a 3-2 loss to the Twins.
It's been a long road back from his 21-month rehab from both elbow and hip surgeries, and Lewis said the big reason for his improvement recently is that he's finally figured out his new body, specifically the hip, and is essentially pitching without hip pain for the first time in his Rangers career.
“I felt great," Lewis said Wednesday night. "I feel like I’m back to 2010-2011 kind of form. It’s been an adjustment to get used to a prosthetic hip. I just didn’t think it would take this long.”
Now, Lewis could possibly be pitching his way into the Rangers' plans for 2015. He'll be a free agent this winter, working on his second straight one-year deal, and would likely get another next season unless the Rangers really liked what they saw and rewarded Lewis with a two-year deal.
If he can continue pitching the way he has over the past month — the Angels start excluded — he could be buying himself time in Texas that we thought wouldn't be there just a couple of months ago.