Matthew wrote about it first last night, but I just got done watching the replay of the Ubaldo Jiminez no-hitter, and I have to say that it’s been a long time since I’ve seen someone pitch with that kind of gas in his tank. He struggled a bit early walking people, but it seemed like the reason for it was he just had so much power and velocity and so much action on his fastball that he couldn’t fully harness it.
After a couple of innings he tired ever so slightly, settled in at an, um, reasonable 97-98 miles per hour, and he was much better able to control the extra giddy-up. By the time the sixth and seventh innings rolled around the Braves had no better shot at
hitting the ball than you or I would have had. I loved Jiminez before, but after last night’s performance the guy is approaching man-crush territory. I mean, he was no-hitting my team, and all I could think was how awesome it was.
I was also thinking that the Braves get no-hit a lot because watching them flail certainly felt familiar. Turns out, though, that it’s only happened twice since I was converted to their cause in the mid 80s: last night and Randy Johnson’s perfect game in 2004 (there were 11 other occasions before the 1980s). I guess the feeling was just a function of seeing a lot of bad offensive nights against guys throwing serious heat, which is an occupational hazard for Bobby Cox teams.
If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.
Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.
The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.
At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.
Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.
Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.
Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.