ARLINGTON, Texas -- Three years ago
For Colby Preston Lewis of Bakersfield, Calif., it has been a long, strange and rather remarkable journey to Game 6 of the ALCS. At Rangers Ballpark on Friday night, the 31-year-old right-hander will take the mound against
Yes, the Rangers have the star of the 2010 postseason, the ultimate October weapon,
And then there's this: Can Texas' Japanese import, the most unlikely starter of this postseason, repeat his impressive Game 2 start, in which he allowed two runs and struck out six Yankees over 5 2/3 innings? "The key, I think, to trying to beat the Yankees is keeping them in the ballpark," says Rangers manager
Confidence isn't a problem for Lewis, who has been cool under October's hot lights. Before he shut down the Yankees last weekend, Lewis threw five shutout innings against the Rays in Game 3 of the ALDS. "Everybody talks about postseason pressure and nervousness," he says. "But I kind of look at nervousness as taking my family to Japan. That's nervous -- going to a foreign country, not knowing what to expect."
That Lewis ended up back in Texas -- which drafted him 38th overall in 1999 -- is "a testament to our scouts," says GM
Recalls Hall of Famer and Rangers part-owner
When he left for Japan, Lewis was a fastball-throwing gunslinger. When he came back, he didn't have the blazing fastball anymore, but he was finally a pitcher. This season he was fifth among AL starters with an 8.78 strikeout rate and 11th in strikeout-to-walk ratio. He threw his fastball, which tops out in the low 90s, more than 50 percent of the time but now has a slider that, according to
The Rangers are a confident team. On Thursday afternoon at their team workout, the starting pitchers took BP as if it's a certainty that they'll be facing either the Giants or Phillies on the road next week. They're confident because they know they have Lee in Game 7. But they're confident because they know this, too: You shouldn't bet against Colby Lewis.