ARLINGTON, Texas -- Colby Lewis' pitching wasn't the problem Tuesday night. At least, that's the way Ron Washington viewed it from the home dugout.
According to the skipper, the biggest issue in the Rangers' 7-4 loss to the Royals was Lewis' befuddling failure to be able to throw the ball to first base.
Lewis made two throwing errors -- one on a routine comebacker in the first inning, the other on a pickoff attempt in the second -- that opened the floodgates early. The Rangers never recovered or came close to threatening the lead, sealing the Royals sweep in the two-game series.
Other than those errors, Washington was relatively pleased with Lewis' performance.
"That's five runs off the board," Washington said. "That's the way I look at the game."
Here's the problem: The Royals still hit Lewis hard.
Not quite as hard as the Orioles in Lewis' last start, when he got rocked for five homers despite racking up a career-high 12 strikeouts. The Royals only left the yard once against Lewis, who is tied for the major league lead in homers allowed with 12, but Kansas City also had four doubles. Lewis gave up seven runs on eight hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.
"They did a good job of hitting them where we weren't," Lewis said, apparently referring to hard-to-reach spots like the outfield walls.
Only two of the runs allowed by Lewis were earned, but this outing continued a disturbing trend for Texas' Opening Day starter. It is the third consecutive start that Lewis has given up at least six runs in a loss, a stark contrast to allowing a total of seven runs while going 3-0 in his first five starts of the season.
"He hit a bad stretch and we're going to fight through it," Washington said after being pressed on the issue of Lewis being hit hard after the errors. "We're not going to get concerned about anything. We're going to do what we always do -- go to work and try to correct things. It's a long season.
"Next time he goes out there, you never know, it might be the beginning of him rattling off three or four (great starts). That's the way we think."
Added Lewis: "It's just a little spell or hiccup or whatever. I'll bounce back from it and move on."
The errant throws to first can be called a hiccup. The balls hit hard after being thrown down the middle of the plate? That's an issue Lewis needs to correct.