Rangers' Lewis prepared for final postseason tune-up

BY foxsports • October 1, 2016

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas right-hander Colby Lewis isn't exacting rounding into playoff shape at just the right time.

But the veteran has a chance to end the regular season on a high note Saturday as he draws the start opposite Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Odorizzi in the penultimate game of the regular season.

Texas wrapped up home-field advantage throughout the postseason with its 3-1 victory Friday night. That means some of the regulars will rest Saturday, but Lewis has work to do.

Lewis (6-4), who will be the No. 3 or 4 starter for the Rangers in the American League Division Series, is on a four-game losing streak. In his last start at Oakland Lewis didn't make it out of the second inning as the A's battered him for seven runs in 1 1/3 innings. In three starts since coming back after missing 71 games because of a strained right lat, Lewis is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA.

He knows those kinds of numbers won't get the job done any time, especially for a team that's postseason bound. But despite the ugly numbers, Lewis feels like the Oakland outing wasn't as bad as it looked.

"I felt like my last start was some of the best stuff I've had," Lewis said. "I didn't really make a lot of mistakes. They just hit the ball in spots fielders weren't. If I do that I should come out with better results than last time. That's all I'm trying to do."

Saturday's start will be the last one Lewis makes until either Game 3 or Game 4 (if necessary) of the ALDS. That will give him more than a week off after his Saturday start. The most successful pitcher in postseason history for the organization isn't fazed by that.

"That doesn't affect me at all," said Lewis, who is 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA in nine postseason appearances. "I might throw a couple touch-up sides to make sure my arm stays nice and fresh and ready to go. For me, it's like the old Japanese schedule (2008-09). I used to throw sides in between and felt great every seventh day."

Odorizzi (9-6) might not have the postseason to look forward to, but does like the idea of facing the Rangers. In his four career starts against Texas, Odorizzi is 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA. He allowed one run in six innings in beating the Rangers earlier this year in Florida and won in Texas in 2014.

After a slow start to the season, Odorizzi has been outstanding over his last 13 appearances. He's 6-1 in that span with a 2.81 ERA. But for Odorizzi, that doesn't completely erase his start.

"I would consider it okay," Odorizzi said. "Not terrible. Not good. I think I can perform better than I did. But to be honest with you, I haven't thought much about it since the second half started."

Odorizzi's manager Kevin Cash sees his starter's season in a more positive light.

"He's being hard on himself," Cash said. "I think he's had a really good season. There's something to be said for making all those starts (32) if you're doing that, it means you're doing enough to help the club win games."

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