Lewis to start must-win Game 3 in Toronto

Hamels could start Game 4 on three days' rest, if necessary; Perez also an option for Rangers

Lewis to start must-win Game 3 in Toronto

ARLINGTON -- Facing a 2-0 deficit in the American League Division Series, the Rangers will start right-hander Colby Lewis in a must-win Game 3 against the Blue Jays and Aaron Sanchez on Sunday at Rogers Centre. 

The game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT, and it will be broadcast on TBS in the United States and Sportsnet (English) and TVA (French) in Canada.

Manager Jeff Banister said he is considering going with Cole Hamels in Game 4 (if needed) on Monday on three days' rest. Hamels has made just one career start in the regular season on three days' rest, and never in the postseason, but he threw just 82 pitches in his Game 1 start.

Starting pitcher Martin Perez -- who was available in the bullpen for the Rangers' 5-3 loss in Game 2, but was not used -- would be the other option if Texas decides against using Hamels.

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 6 TOR 10, TEX 1 video
Gm 2 Oct. 7 TOR 5 TEX 3 video
Gm 3 Oct. 9 TOR 7, TEX 6 (10) video

"Obviously, we have to think about it," Banister said. "We'll see where we are at when we get to Game 4."

Lewis gets the start for Game 3 after going 6-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 19 starts during the regular season. 

Lewis was sidelined from June 22-Sept. 10 with a strained muscle in the back of his right shoulder, and he went 0-4 with a 6.38 ERA in the final month of the season. But he is also 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA in eight career starts and one relief appearance in the postseason.

"We think he is healthy," Banister said. "He feels good and has been stretched out enough. He is experienced, and given the right-handed set of hitters Toronto has, he is one of our best options."

Lewis made two starts against the Blue Jays during the regular season, taking no-decisions in both. On May 4, he went seven innings and allowed three runs on five hits, a walk and struck out seven in a game the Rangers lost, 4-3, in the ninth inning at Rogers Centre. On May 14 in Arlington, he went seven innings and allowed two runs. He left with a three-run lead, and the Rangers ended up winning, 6-5, in 10 innings.

Lewis strikes out six over seven

Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is 5-for-17 with two home runs off Lewis in his career, but Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Edwin Encarnacion are a combined 5-for-41 (.122) against him. All four are right-handed hitters.

Rangers beat

• Hamels allowed four hits with two strikes on the batter in the Blue Jays' five-run third inning of Texas' 10-1 loss in Game 1. He had held opponents to a .162 average with two strikes during the regular season. According to Elias Sports Bureau, only twice previously in his career did Hamels allow four hits in an inning with two strikes on the batter.

• Banister planned no big speeches to his team before Game 2. Said Banister, "If I'm going to do something outside what I normally do, I would categorize myself as reactionary. When you are reactionary, you are emotional. When you are emotional, you tend to make irrational decisions. We are going to stay consistent with the things that we do and how we do them."

• Rangers reliever Alex Claudio pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 1 without striking out a batter. It marked only the sixth scoreless outing of 3 2/3 innings or more without a strikeout in postseason history, previously done in 1990 by Gene Nelson of the Oakland A's in Game 3 of the World Series.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.