Major League Baseball
Rangers-Angels preview
Major League Baseball

Rangers-Angels preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 6:51 p.m. ET

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Right-hander Colby Lewis will make his first start in nearly three months Sunday when the Texas Rangers will try to sweep their three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium.

The Rangers, who own the American League's best record, would reduce their magic number to win the American League West to 10 by beating the Angels. If the second-place Houston Astros also lose to the Chicago Cubs, that number would decrease to nine.

Lewis, 37, won his first six decisions before going on the disabled list because of a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle. The right-hander sustained that injury in his last start June 21, when he allowed six runs on five hits in five innings of an 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

With the playoffs starting in three weeks, Rangers manager Jeff Banister wants to get Lewis ready.


"It's about getting back out on a major-league field," Banister told "We've got an opportunity to get some starts behind him so he has an opportunity to build up and move forward."

Lewis had a 75-pitch limit in his final rehabilitation start for Class A Spokane on Monday, so Banister will watch him carefully.

"We want to make sure he stays healthy," the Texas manager told "We don't want to send him out and throw 110 pitches. We still want to monitor his pitches because this is about the long term for us, getting him ramped up."

In that start for Spokane, Lewis allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings but issued no walks and collected three strikeouts while throwing 66 pitches.

"I feel great," Lewis told "The last start, I felt really good. Everything was a lot sharper. I got a lot out of it. I just felt free and easy. I'm just excited to get back out there."

Before his injury, Lewis led the American League with 12 quality starts and held opponents to a .222 batting average. A victory Sunday would extend Lewis' winning streak on the road to six games.

Opposing Lewis will be right-hander Jered Weaver, who faces an uncertain future after this year.

Weaver will become a free agent after his five-year contract ends this season. His problems with injuries and declining velocity have been well documented. The Angels could offer the 33-year old a one-year contract, especially since Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano will miss next season because of Tommy John surgery, and Garrett Richards remains an unknown quantity despite stem-cell therapy that has kept him from Tommy John surgery so far.

Yet one element has remained constant: Weaver's tenacity.

"No matter how I'm feeling, I'm going to go out there and take the ball," Weaver told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm not going to give up on my team, no matter what kind of situation we're in. There's a sense of pride to go out there and finish out a season, no matter what is going on or how your body is feeling. I've definitely never been a quitter and never not gone when things haven't been 100 percent."


Get more from Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more