Rangers-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

Colby Lewis cruised to a 4-0 mark in six starts against the Oakland Athletics last year.

He'll make his first 2012 start against the majors' worst hitting team Wednesday night when the visiting Texas Rangers try for a rare win against Bartolo Colon as they continue a four-game set.

Lewis (4-4, 3.50 ERA) pitched for Oakland (24-32) in 2007 before going to Japan and returning in 2010 for a second stint with Texas (33-23).

He went 0-3 with a 3.69 ERA in his first five starts against the Athletics in 2010 before winning his last one that year. Lewis stretched his overall win streak versus his former team to five decisions by posting a 3.05 ERA in six outings last year with 37 strikeouts and eight walks over 41 1-3 innings.

That kind of control is typical for Lewis, who leads the majors with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 6.40 and ranks third in walks per nine innings at 1.25. Oakland, however, has drawn 190 walks to rank sixth in baseball.

Drawing walks is probably the best thing the Athletics do at the plate. Their .214 average is the worst in the majors and their 188 runs are the AL's lowest total.

Lewis has fared well against Cliff Pennington, a .233 hitter against him, and Kurt Suzuki, who is 4 for 23. Jemile Weeks, though, is 7 for 12 against the right-hander, who will get his first look at Cuban rookie slugger Yoenis Cespedes.

Colon (4-6, 4.34) is 17-6 in his career against Texas for his highest win total against any team. He is 12-1 with a 3.24 ERA in his last 14 starts versus the Rangers, although he's allowed 10 runs over nine innings in the last two.

The right-hander gave up two runs over seven innings Friday in a 2-0 defeat at Kansas City. He's 0-4 with a 10.07 ERA in four outings in Oakland this season.

Michael Young is a .357 hitter and Adrian Beltre .333 against Colon, with each facing him more than 40 times. Other Rangers have less experience against the veteran, with Josh Hamilton 0 for 2.

Hamilton is 3 for 21 halfway through this 10-game trip. He failed to drive in a run in the first four games before recording his major league-best 58th RBI in Tuesday's 6-3 win.

The Rangers had every starter get at least one hit after they managed a season-low three in Monday's 12-1 loss. Ian Kinsler had two hits and two RBIs Tuesday.

"We had no ill effect from it," manager Ron Washington said. "We bounced back today with a real aggressive ballgame."

Cespedes and Collin Cowgill had the game's only homers Tuesday for Oakland, which recorded season highs in runs and hits (15) in Monday's rout.

Seth Smith, who had four hits Monday, could be back in the A's lineup after sitting out Tuesday against the left-handed Derek Holland. Pennington, who has two hits in his last 32 at-bats, was also given the night off.