World Series Game Three, Texas 4, San Francisco 2.

Three years ago he was the 530th player selected in the draft, in the 17th round.

Two years ago the Rangers experimented heavily with turning him into a pitcher, and in fact gave him the choice as to whether he wanted to make a wholesale career transition to the mound.

Four hours ago he had the greatest at-bat any Texas Rangers hitter has had in 2010.

Fastball up, ball one.

Curve upstairs, ball two.

Fastball inner half, destroyed into the upper deck in foul ground.

Fastball down and in, for called strike two.

Curve inside, fouled off.

Curve inside, fouled off.

Curve inside, fouled off.

Changeup down, fouled off.

And on the next 2-2 pitch, the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Mitch Moreland turned an 89-mph left-handed fastball around for a three-run, no-doubt bomb, a shot that won this game . . . .

. . . in tandem with the man on the mound.  The Rangers came into this post-season without a home playoff win in franchise history.  They now have three.

All three belong to Colby Lewis.

Coming in each of the club’s last three home playoff games.

After getting shafted in run support most of the season, Lewis hasn’t needed much of it this month.  Tack on his five innings of shutout ball in a no-decision against the Rays, and his post-season ERA now sits at 1.71, with a .176 opponents’ average and 24 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.  

If Moreland’s at-bat was the greatest by a Ranger this year – and of course, a case can arguably be made that it was therefore the greatest in franchise history – Lewis may be the greatest off-season acquisition, all things considered, that any team in baseball made this past winter.

And if this thing ends up going seven, which lots of us predicted before the series got rolling, Colby Lewis will get the ball that Thursday night, presumably against Jonathan Sanchez.

On the omen subject, this morning I wrote this:

I got to the airport and boarded Flight 488 to Phoenix, where I’d connect on another flight to Dallas.  Was the flight number a nod to number 48, Colby Lewis, going eight innings tonight?  Or getting eight runs of support?  Or Lewis and, somehow, Jorge Cantu (number 8) getting the most camera time at the end of a Rangers win?

He didn’t go eight innings, but was basically one pitch away from doing it.

He didn’t get eight runs of support, but he got eight hits, including a couple very big ones, and he made them stand up.

It wasn’t Lewis and Cantu, but it was Lewis and the man who has made Cantu obsolete.

What a win.

Enjoy the hell out of the attached Eric Nadel audio clips.

Game Four Sunday night, Halloween.  

I think we’ll all be disappointed on level or another not to see some Rally Minka’s in the crowd.

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SUNDAY MORNING ADDENDUM:

A few quick hits:

Colby Lewis started 26 of 30 Giants hitters off with strike one.  Just tremendous.

The 22 Rangers hitters who faced Jonathan Sanchez – who led all Major League starting pitchers in opponents’ batting average (.204) and was top 10 in the NL in strikeouts – swung and missed just three times.

That’s as many swing-and-misses as Pat Burrell had in the first inning.

Nelson Cruz has 12 extra-base hits in the playoffs.  That’s the most by one player in one post-season in the history of Major League Baseball.

Alexi Ogando will be a huge factor tonight.

And Cliff Lee will make his final start of 2010 tomorrow night.  Will it be his final start as a Texas Ranger?

Peter Gammons made a radio appearance on Boston’s WEEI on Thursday:

As for the biggest name among the free agents – starting pitcher Cliff Lee – Gammons was short and to the point about his future.

“Cliff Lee is going to sign with Texas,” Gammons said.

First things first, Big Game Hunter.  Bring out that breaking ball, go as Colby Lewis for Halloween, and do your thing.

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(c) Jamey Newberg
http://www.newbergreport.com
Twitter  @newbergreport
 

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