In 2010, Colby Lewis was a revelation. Lured back to North America from Japan, by the Rangers, Lewis entered that season with a 6.17 career ERA in Major League Baseball, but posted a 3.72 mark for a squad that wound up in the World Series.
He didn't pitch quite as well in 2011, but did prove he wasn't just a one-season wonder.
Lewis was pitching his best ever in 2012; at this moment, he leads the American League with a brilliant 6.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and he has the lowest ERA (3.43) of his career.
But Lewis went on the Disabled List a few weeks ago, with an elbow injury. He did return to the Rangers' rotation on the 18th of July, and pitched five solid innings against the A's.
He won't be pitching any more innings this season, solid or otherwise. The elbow injury flared up again, and this time it's ... well, it's a lot worse than before:
Colby Lewis, Tommy John. More than 30 major league pitchers this year. An epidemic begging to be solved.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 23, 2012
So Colby Lewis is going to miss the rest of this season, and probably most of next season.
When Lewis was out of action before, Martín Pérez was getting his starts but Perez struggled. But the Rangers probably aren't desperate to replace Lewis via trade, since Neftali Felíz is currently rehabbing in the minors and should be ready to rejoin the big club fairly soon. That would leave the Rangers with a rotation something like this:
That's a pretty good rotation, even if Oswalt and Holland currently sport inflated ERAs.
None of which is to suggest the Rangers aren't interested in one of the premier starting pitchers on the market right now. As they and many other teams have proved this season, you can never have too much starting pitchering. But it's not apparent that they need another starter. Not yet, anyway.
Meanwhile, about that epidemic ... It's probably just statistical noise. Mostly. But with Strikeout Fever having taken a firm grip on the pitching population, maybe hurlers these days are just trying a little too hard?
Hey, it's just a theory.
Update: Hold the phone. Now Jeff Passan's reporting that Lewis will not be undergoing Tommy John Surgery. Still, it doesn't sound like he'll be pitching anytime soon. And my theory still holds!
Final Update? We can only hope ...
Turns out Colby Lewis wasn't a ligament, as originally reported. It's a torn flexor tendon. Still major season-ending surgery. Tough blow.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 24, 2012