Texas Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis knows he’s not going to get there this season, but it’s already on his mind for 2015.
Whether or not he’s still wearing a Rangers jersey, Lewis, the 35-year-old who has defied the odds and skeptics after returning from hip resurfacing surgery last summer, has his eyes on 200 innings.
The idea doesn’t seem so farfetched anymore. Not after Lewis logged another solid outing, albeit in a losing cause Monday night as the Kansas City Royals beat the Rangers 4-3 at Kauffman Stadium.
Lewis (9-12) allowed all four runs on nine hits in seven innings. A two-run homer from Salvador Perez in the third gave the Royals a 3-0 lead. It was one of the few mistakes made by Lewis.
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“I think I could have hit that 2-0 fastball out,” Lewis quipped. “Right over the middle, I’d be geared up for a 2-0 heater, too. I didn’t hit my spot and gave up the two runs.”
But as he has done for the bulk of the season, especially this summer, Lewis kept working and stayed in the game. He worked out of jams in both the fourth and fifth innings before facing the minimum in the sixth and seventh.
The seven innings ties Lewis with Yu Darvish for the team lead with 144 1/3 this season. Lewis’ 26 starts also leads the team.
“He knows how to pitch,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “That hip is healthy enough where he can execute his pitches when he’s feeling it. I thought he did a tremendous job of managing that game.”
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. After Lewis recorded two quick outs, a single, stolen base and double from Perez scored Alex Gordon.
“You’ve got to give Perez credit,” Washington said. “The first double he hit was off the plate, and he went out there and got it in the right-center gap.
“But after [the home run], [Lewis] settled down and gave us a chance to get back in it.”
The Rangers offense, which has combined to score five runs in three games since scoring 13 in one game at Houston, was held to five hits. Royals starter Yordano Ventura (11-9) allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
The Royals’ bullpen combined for 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief.
“That might be three of the best arms in baseball, I don’t know,” Washington said of Royals relievers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland.
Lewis has gone at least five innings in his last nine starts, including two complete games.
The season itself has been a struggle for the Rangers, but it’s gratifying for Lewis to know that his pipe dream to revive his career has become a reality.
“It definitely is,” Lewis said. “I’m thankful that the hip is healthy and for the opportunity to go out there every five days and get as many as starts as I have.
“It’s been a good situation for me this year to be able to take the ball every five days and eat up innings, and keep this team in a lot of ballgames. I know I’m not going to get [200 innings] this year, but next year I could definitely be the type of guy that can do that. We’ll see.”