Derek Jeter is 3-for-5 with two home runs in his career against Rangers starter Colby Lewis. All five at-bats came in 2003.
The Yankees had some trouble this season with pitchers they’d never seen. That doesn’t exactly apply to Lewis, but it might as well. He was a first-round pick in 1999, pitched in 41 big league games in 2002 and 2003, and his career seemed to be a bust. From 2004 to 2007 he started four big league games, then he went to Japan and didn’t return to the Majors until this season.
“When I got the opportunity to go over there, I was looking at it to pretty much finish my career over there,” Lewis said. “It was a situation where it was financially better for me to go at the time, and not really wanting to maybe be put in a situation of going up-and-down between Triple-A and the big leagues again. That was basically it. It was just going over there and then having two good years and kind of opening up eyes here and having teams take interest in me.”
Lewis came back from Japan as a suddenly Major-League-ready starter. He had a 3.72 ERA for the Rangers this season, then he pitched five scoreless innings in the division series. He hasn’t faced the Yankees this season, and any at-bats from the past seem perfectly meaningless at this point.
“They’ll just watch more video,” Joe Girardi said. “We have handful of guys who had some at-bats off him, but it’s a totally different guy. Guys can just watch a lot of video, maybe try to see as many pitches as you can the first time through.”
Associated Press photo