Colby Lewis frustrated with strike zone
September, 3, 2011
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
BOSTON -- Rangers starter Colby Lewis felt his most important at-bat in Saturday's 12-7 loss to Boston was against catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a runner on and no outs.
Lewis had a 3-1 lead at that point and was once again working with men on base. That's when he felt home plate umpire Gary Darling's strike zone hurt him.
"I had Salty punched out on a 2-2 pitch and they didn't call it," Lewis said. "Then I came back with a more of a strike slider and he hit a homer. Then on the very next pitch to [Jacoby Ellsbury] he gives me an 8-inch fastball off the plate. I don't know if it was a makeup call, but by that time it's too late."
The Saltamacchia homer made it a 3-3 game and the Red Sox ended up scoring eight runs in the inning. Lewis was chased a few batters later and the inning unraveled.
"I felt like my stuff was coming together more as I went on, but not everybody saw it that way," Lewis said. "It's disappointing."
Combine the small strike zone with the fact that Lewis got some breaking pitches up, and you have the recipe for a rough outing. He was dealing with baserunners all outing long. Boston left six men on base in the first three innings before getting to Lewis in the fourth. He fell behind in counts and had to throw a lot of pitches, his day ending after 3 1/3 innings and 89 pitches (53 strikes).
"He couldn't get the ball down," manager Ron Washington said. "You keep giving these guys opportunities with runners in scoring position and they're going to finally come through, and they did it. He had trouble in the first three innings and ended up giving up one run. In that fourth inning, we couldn't stop the bleeding."
That's three straight troubling starts for Lewis, who is 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA in his last three starts. He's allowed five of his AL-leading 32 homers in those outings and his team has trailed when he's departed each time.
Asked whether Lewis might be considered for a break down the line, Washington shook his head.
"No, he's just not getting the ball down," Washington said. "He's just got to get it down."