The mystery of righty Colby Lewis' decreased velocity persists.
In an ugly 15-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, Lewis once again averaged less than 88 mph with his fastball and lacked command of the pitch. Lewis averaged 90.1 mph with his fastball in 2010 while pitching a career-high 227.1 innings (including the playoffs). So far, he's averaging 87.5 mph with the fastball in 2011.
Lewis said there is nothing physically wrong with his arm. He explained the drop in velocity this way: A year ago, he commanded his 88-89 mph fastball and then, ahead in counts, it made it easier to reach back and throw something harder. Now, constantly behind, he doesn't have the same freedom to occasionally just throw harder to put a hitter away.
The difference in his fastball is only about 2.5 mph this year. He's currently averaging about 87.5 mph and was at 87.8 on Tuesday. For the year, though, he's throwing fastballs about 47 percent of the time. That's a 10 percent drop from a year ago.
A perfect example of his problem: The game-changing at-bat against Mark Trumbo in the fourth.
Lewis missed with a first-pitch fastball at 88 mph. Trumbo patiently watched an off-speed pitch for the second ball. And then Lewis missed with an 89 mph at 2-and-0. At 3-and-0, Lewis simply tried to throw a strike -- at 86 mph -- and Trumbo drove it into the left-field stands.
"I had good off-speed stuff, but I'm not really giving myself a chance to get to a point where those pitches can be effective," Lewis said. "The off-speed stuff has saved me from getting totally blown out of a game. I'm not concerned with the fastball velocity. If I'm not commanding it, it doesn't matter what speed I'm throwing it at."
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