Category Archives: Bartolo Colon

GET IT WHILE YOU CAN – OR NOT?

 We can all recall the decision of the Washington Nationals to shut Stephen Strasburg down prior to their Playoff appearance a couple of seasons ago – and we all know the ensuing history whereby the Nationals are still waiting for a return visit. The reason XXX C01 ANDREWS 25 S ALfor their decision was that he was coming back from “Tommy John” surgery performed by the pioneering Dr. James Andrews (left) and they wanted to protect him from another injury.

Unfolding now is a similar dilemma faced by the New York Mets as we await the start of the World Series on Tuesday. Except in this, we have not just one but four tender and spectacularly young arms in play, images-23with two of them (Harvey and Matz) in the rebound year of  their surgeries. Adding to the drama are the events surrounding Matt Harvey and his agent Scott Boras late in the season when both nearly tore the team apart when they declared a 180 innings limit for “The Brat”. Luckily, Doc Gooden and others stepped in to reason with Harvey and the fiasco fizzled out.

Nevertheless, all four of the Mets starting pitchers are approaching or have already surpassed their highestimages-33 inning totals in their brief career. In fact, in Harvey’s case, if he indeed starts game one (probable but not yetimages-38 written in stone), and if the Series is extended beyond four or five games, he will have pitched the most innings ever for a player coming back from surgery, and this includes Tommy John himself. 

As it was for the Nationals, this almost certainly is a lose-lose proposition for the Mets. Because if they play it safe by shutting down one or possibly even more of these young studs and lose the Series, they’ll have all winter to answer to that decision. On the other hand, if they win the Series and one or more of them suffers a career threatening injury, they’ll have all winter to answer to that decision. 

I’m of the mind that they (and in particular Dan Warthen, their underrated pitching coach) should look closely at their mechanics and body language when they are throwing. If one or more of them “looks” different now from the way they looked in July, then that should be a red flag demonstrating possible strain that could lead to injury. In this regard, Jacob DeGrom deserves a close look as he’s seemed a bit “off” in his last two starts, even though in both he was able to grind it out and secure two wins. As with Strasburg, this must be a management decision since all of them are too young to know their own bodies yet. Plus, they’re all bulldogs with a competitive edge and they’ll never shut themselves down voluntarily.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the Mets have two proven and stable starters on call in the ageless Bartolo Colon (left) images-51and Jonathan Niese who bounced back nicely in his last few starts when there was serious discussion about him even being on the Playoff roster. But in the end, it should be a “feel” decision made by the Mets and it should be done individually and not collectively. The Nationals were wrong when they shut Strasburg down even before the Playoffs began. To their credit, the Mets didn’t do that even when they could have when Harvey gave them the chance to. They hung in there and so did Harvey. Now, it’s game on! Continue reading

BARTOLO COLON – AGELESS WONDER – AND A PITCHER

Bill Lee, images-39(right) the former tall flamethrower for the Boston Red Sox ( also known as Mr. Spaceman for good reasons), was once asked by a reporter, ” Bill, what is your best pitch?” Without hesitation, he succinctly replied “Strike One.”

Bartolo Colon, the winningest pitcher on the New York Mets at 14-11, knows that. images-47More importantly, he has learned to execute that often decisive first pitch to almost every batter he faces.  And this all comes at the tender age of 42. With 218 wins logged thus far, he is not likely to be destined for the Hail of Fame, but the nearly 3,000 innings he has thrown has to catch your attention as one of those “rubber arms” of the past who simply took their turn when it came up – and pitch count were words from a foreign language.

I once met “Bart” as he is known to his teammates when he was with the White Sox in images-512005 when I attended a game at Yankee Stadium. At the players entrance, he paused to say hello to an acquaintance. I recall being struck by his stature – kind of roly poly – built strong. Nowadays, he has almost become a caricature of himself as he has somehow managed five hits and four RBI ” running” the bases.

Bartolo Colon is not a flamethrower. In fact, he seldom touches 90. What he does do however is keep hitters off balance while constantly changing their eye level. In essence, most times they get themselves out. This is a practiced art. It seldom can be taught. You have to buy into it…….and then (maybe) it can be taught. It’s a formula more “throwers” should take notice of.

All of this becomes more interesting as the Mets move forward to the Second Season and a playoff rrotation is formed. Jon Niese has pitched his way out of that rotation and probably even the roster. That leaves (pick yours – you only need four with ample days off) DeGrom, Harvey, Syndegaard, Matz, and Colon. One man is out but relegated to a all important bullpen role. Who should it be?