Bartolo Colon

Photo Courtesy of Keith Allison

Starting Pitcher: Colon, 8-2, 2.92 ERA

He must be on drugs, right? That is the only way I can fathom Bartolo Colon doing what he’s doing. He dials it up to 95, throws an exploding slider, doesn’t walk a soul, and pretty much goes 6+ without fail. But whether or not he is going to be suspended for 100 games, whether or not he is taking happy pills that make his arm into a cannon at the ripe old age of 40, and whether or not he can cover first base because of his exceptional physique, I’m into it. I talk a lot about karma and bad mojo in baseball in relation to steroids. That’s why I think any fantasy team that has Ryan Braun on its roster is doomed for failure.

Yet somehow, in my deluded mind, this rule doesn’t apply to Big Fat Bartolo Colon. Yes, I am a hypocrite. Yes, we knew that a long time ago – it’s why I’m writing for this website in the first place. But seriously, how can you hate this guy, even if he is popping more pills than a cast member of The Hills? He is the 40 year old Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, dominating baseball lineups both good and bad – let him have his final, glorious moment in the sun, during which he will become soft and gooey and start smelling like Crème Brulée.

He got the ball against fellow All Star candidate Hisashi Iwakuma (Yes, El Hombre Gordo is in the running for the All Star Game, and Iwakuma is probably in the running for the Cy as well). It didn’t start out pretty, with Stay Puff getting seriously knocked around in the second inning to the tune of 2 runs on 5 hits and 35 pitches. It could’ve been a lot worse, too – with bases loaded and one out, Kyle Seager lined out to right field, and it would’ve plated a run had Josh Reddick not been the one to catch it. Every once and a while, other teams forget that Josh Reddick has a cannon, and they have to relearn the hard way. Kendrys Morales then popped out to end the danger.

What can you say about Bartolo? He set down the next 16 out of 17 Mariners after that second inning, gleefully pounding the strike zone before exiting after 7 to have his popsicle/full buffet reward in the clubhouse. He gets a ton of groundball outs, dials it up for a strikeout if he needs to, and still doesn’t walk anyone. He looked fabulously content upon exiting the game, and whether or not it was the dozen or so packages of ice cream sandwiches in the locker room freezer waiting for him, I’m into it.

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Everything Else

Iwakuma struggled with his command all day, which was very, very strange. The dude is elite, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – his peripherals are crack. 4.5% walk rate, he’s striking out a quarter of the batters he faces, and he induces more ground balls than fly balls. I thought getting two off of him was quite an achievement, but then he walked Jaso to open the 5th frame before leaving balls up to Cespedes (double) and Moss (single), plating two more runs. He left a lot of balls up and out over the strike zone and got punished, and he uncharacteristically walked 3.

The A’s offense blew up to the tune of 10 runs and 17 hits, including four hits for Josh Reddick, who finished a double short of the cycle. It’s too early to say he’s back, but you can see the swagger is returning and he’s not missing pitches he should hit. It helps that he was fed a steady diet of pitches in his down-and-in happy zone yesterday, but still, he’s hitting the ball with authority. He’s a hitter who feeds off confidence, and it’s coming back. This game should help tremendously, and here’s hoping he feasts on the poor pitching and bandbox in Arlington for the next four days. He needs to learn to adjust to the way that the league has started pitching him this year (away away away), but you can see him trying to stay back and drive the ball the other way. He strikes me as a player who wants to succeed enough to make the adjustment and find success. He’ll never hit 32 home runs ever again, but that’s ok, and I hope he realizes that.

Seth Smith had a few good swings yesterday (a ringing double and a no doubter home run), which was also great to see – he’s been struggling a lot lately, especially against lefties. I watch his at bats against lefties and don’t even know why he’s in there most of the time (except out of necessity) – he simply cannot see the ball out of the hand from that side of the mound and is resigned to guessing what pitch is coming. He’s batting .167 against left handed starters this year.

Doolittle is getting over that blip he had a week and a half ago (11 runs in 3 2/3 IP) outing by outing – he’s searching for something, and I’m not sure what it is. He’s obviously working on a secondary pitch, but who knows if that is what’s causing his command problems. His average velocity is down, too, but I think that is a side effect of trying to get the ball over the plate while he’s been struggling, as he can still ramp it up to 97+.

All in all, A’s win 10-2 with four home runs to send the sellout crowd home happy.

And now it’s onto Arlington to sweep the currently hapless Rangers! Hyah!

 A’s win 10-2