04/24/10 11:43 PM ET
Lewis, Porcello headed in different directions
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
Now, things all seem to be moving his way.
Entering his fourth start of the season, Lewis will take on Rick Porcello and the Tigers riding a hot streak. The right-hander has two victories in his first three starts and opponents are hitting .206 against him. Additionally, batters are 1-for-15 against him with runners in scoring position. Lewis, once the crown jewel of the Rangers' organization, pitched in Japan last season.
"I just wanted to pick up where I left off last year in Japan," Lewis said. "Just have quality starts and keeping my team in the ballgame. This is exactly what I wanted to do coming back."
Lewis allowed three runs in five innings in his last start against the Red Sox and left with a 6-2 lead. The Red Sox rallied for a 7-6 victory. In all, Lewis walked two, struck out five and threw 105 pitches in the outing. He has now walked 10 in 17 1/3 innings after walking 19 in 176 1/3 innings in Japan last year.
"I'm just commanding all my pitches," Lewis said. "Back when I was pitching here, I was a one-pitch guy and even then, I couldn't locate my fastball all the time. I've developed more pitches and can throw them for strikes."
Lewis is 5-0 with a 3.75 ERA in his last seven starts and two relief appearances at the Ballpark in Arlington. He has only one career appearance against Detroit, tossing one inning of scoreless relief on Sept. 2, 2007, but made 24 starts for the Tigers' Triple-A club in 2006.
"I feel like I've been throwing the ball well," he said. "I've been able to command my pitches and find the strike zone."
As for Porcello, he is still learning the game at the big league level. His sinker, the pitch that earned him plenty of groundouts and efficient innings last year, has been less consistent so far this year, and it has cost him. He's allowed 18 hits and nine earned runs over 10 1/3 innings during his last two starts.
He does have history, albeit brief, on his side. Porcello had a 6.23 ERA in four April starts last season, but finished the year with a mark of 3.96. He's never faced the Rangers.
"Again, I don't know why it's not there, but it's not sinking quite as much as it was at the end of last year," he said. "I'll figure it out, though."
Rangers: Smoak makes unique debut
Elvis Andrus and Michael Young are the only Rangers to have started every game this year. ... Rookie first baseman Justin Smoak drew two walks in his Major League debut Friday. Only one other Rangers player did that, Rob Maurer on Sept. 8, 1991. Maurer played 21 games in his career. Smoak went and 0-for-3 with a walk on Saturday.
Tigers: Bullpen heating up
Joel Zumaya matched a career high with five strikeouts on Saturday. He first accomplished the feat on June 14, 2006. The Tigers' bullpen tossed six scoreless innings on Saturday and has now posted a 0.39 ERA over the last seven games. ... Eddie Bonine improved to 2-0 after throwing three scoreless innings of relief Saturday. He has now held opponents scoreless in seven of his eight appearances this season. ... Adam Everett left the game after the third inning with a mild right hamstring strain. He is day-to-day.
Vladimir Guerrero loves hitting in Texas. The slugger has hit safely in 51 of 58 career games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He went 3-for-4 with three RBIs on Saturday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.