It's easy to miss how well Colby Lewis pitched this season.
He finished with a losing record (12-13).
His ERA (3.72) was fine, but nothing special.
Skeptics might look at a 30-year-old pitcher with a 24-28 career record and a 5.27 career ERA and wonder if he's good enough to start the second game of a Championship Series.
Well, he's good enough.
Lewis finished below .500 because his teammates scored only 4.4 runs per nine innings while he was the pitcher of record. By way of comparison, the Yankees scored more than six runs per ninnings when Phil Hughes was on the mound.
Skeptics might have looked at Lewis and Hughes and figured the Yankees had the edge. A big edge, even. If only because Hughes has the better record (18-8) and the better reputation (because of his pedigree, and because he's a Yankee).
A funny thing happened on the way to the American League Championship Series, though ... Colby Lewis outpitched Phil Hughes. Thanks to what he learned while pitching in Japan, Lewis struck out three times more hitters than he walked (better than Hughes) and gave up 21 home runs in 206 innings (better than Hughes).
Hughes throws harder than Lewis. Hughes is younger than Lewis. Hughes is probably going to win more games in his career than Lewis. But if you could choose just one of them for just one game, right now, wouldn't you have to choose Lewis?
We've seen Lewis outpitch Hughes. We've seen C.J. Wilson outpitch CC Sabathia. We're assuming that Cliff Lee is going to outpitch Andy Pettitte. We have to think Tommy Hunter will pitch at least as well as A.J. Burnett. All of which figures to give the Rangers, at the very least, a fighting chance.
You have to like the Rangers' chances to win at least one game in New York. Which would, in turn, set up a critical Game 6, and (probably) a rematch of Game 2 starters.
I'll choose Colby Lewis at home. Who you got?