05/15/10 1:40 PM ET
Lewis, Morrow hope to be at best Sunday
By Bailey Stephens / MLB.com
While Colby Lewis has been tough all season, he has struggled mightily against Toronto. His opponent, Jays hurler Brandon Marrow, has had a roller-coaster season, struggling in his first four starts before showing dominance for the next four, only to get shelled by the Red Sox his last time out. The question for both pitchers is, which version will show up?
Both teams could use the momentum boost from a quality outing. The Blue Jays have won three in a row at home for the first time this season and remain firmly in the hunt in the American League East, while the Rangers, on top of the AL West, will be trying to avert the sweep.
Lewis, who took a no-decision in his last start against the A's, retired the first 12 batters in order before allowing three runs in his seven innings. Lewis could have luck shutting down some of Toronto's long-ball threats, as opposing batters are hitting just .202 off him, including a .176 mark by right-handed batters.
There's only one issue: Lewis has a 1-2 record with a 12.28 ERA against the Blue Jays, the highest mark for the young pitcher against any AL team. In four appearances, he's allowed six homers to Toronto, which is also tops among any Major League team he's faced.
Morrow hasn't forced as much inconsistency among opponents, but he's been a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde this season. The right-hander was nothing short of dominant in his past four outings, even throwing a near-no-hitter, prior to last week's game against the Red Sox. Entering that start, Morrow had a 2.96 ERA and 34 strikeouts in his previous four starts.
The Red Sox weren't intimidated, however, and touched up Morrow for six runs in 1 2/3 innings. Perhaps most distressing, Morrow issued five free passes in a four-run second inning.
Morrow made no bones about his outing, stating flat out: "That's an embarrassing start."
The young pitcher believed the problem was mechanical and expressed hope that he'd be able to go back to basics and return to his old self in Sunday's contest.
"It all starts, I think, with my leg kick a little bit," Morrow said. "I was collapsing on my back side, meaning my leg was dropping and I was spinning off real bad. ... We're going to erase this whole week pretty much and go back to what I was doing the last four."
Rangers: Reinforced relief corps could be ticket
As a response to their bullpen issues, the Rangers made a roster move on Saturday, calling up relievers Guillermo Moscoso and Pedro Strop from Triple-A Oklahoma City and sending down outfielder Craig Gentry and reliever Doug Mathis. Texas' relievers, who had thrown 20 1/3 innings in the previous four games entering play on Saturday, had nearly been taxed to their limit. "We just got to get our starter to take us deep in the game," manager Ron Washington said. "You take us deep in the game, our winning pieces are down there and we'll be able to maneuver. But if we have to jump into that bullpen early, of course it's going to affect us."
Blue Jays: Snider showings signs of breaking out
A sore right wrist kept red-hot Travis Snider out of Sunday's lineup. "He strained his wrist a little bit on a swing last night," Jays manager Cito Gaston said on Saturday morning. "Hopefully, he's going to be back [on Sunday]." Snider, who got off to a slow start, has broken through over the past couple of weeks. Over his last 14 games, the outfielder is batting .385 (20-for-52) with eight doubles, four homers and 11 RBIs.
Jose Bautista knocked two homers and tallied five RBIs in Saturday's win over Texas. ... After going hitless in four at-bats on Saturday, Elvis Andrus saw his 14-game hitting streak snapped. It was the longest active streak in the Majors.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.