Tag: Bartolo Colon

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The Mets Twitter people are having fun with the new Star Wars trailer


If you noticed that it was a bit slow here this afternoon, you could blame the fact that not much baseball news was happening. Or you could blame the fact that the new Star Wars trailer was released and nerfherders of a certain age — like, say, in their early 40s — get irrationally exuberant about such things.

I mean, I’m not going to say I’ve been distracted, but I may or may not have spent a good hour arguing with people about whether or not it was possible for a Star Destroyer to crash land, mostly intact, on the surface of a planet.

I’m not the only vaguely baseball person who has been preoccupied. The Mets social media folks have had fun too:

Juan Solo is strong. But not doing something with Bartolo Colon and either Jabba or one of Jabba’s Gamorrean guards is a missed opportunity.

(Thanks to Tom B for the heads up)

Mark Buehrle earned his 200th career win

Mark Buehrle

Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle earned the 200th win of his career on Friday afternoon in a 12-5 victory over the Orioles. He is one of 116 pitchers in baseball history to have won at least 200 games. The lefty allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out two in six innings. He left with an 11-2 lead.

Buehrle, 36, has aged rather well. Since his age-30 season in 2009, the veteran has a 3.83 ERA in 1,243 innings. He’s Jamie Moyer-esque as he averages around 84 MPH on his fastball. Only teammate R.A. Dickey averaged a lower velocity on his fastball last season (82 MPH). Buehrle has succeeded over the years by working quickly — he and Dickey were baseball’s two fastest-working pitchers last year — and limiting walks.

Buehrle has also been durable, pitching 200-plus innings in every season dating back to 2001. He can become a free agent after the season and though he’ll be heading into his age-37 season, he should draw a fair amount of interest given his track record. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him pitch into his 40’s like Moyer.

If Buehrle is able to win at least 13 games this year as he has in five out of the last six seasons, he could finish the season just behind or tied with John Smoltz for 89th all-time on the wins leaderboard with 213. Among active pitchers Tim Hudson currently has the most career wins at 214. CC Sabathia has 208 and Bartolo Colon has 205.

Max Scherzer give up zero earned runs, gets ripped for it

Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer pitched against the Mets yesterday. He was very good. He allowed zero earned runs. He struck out eight guys. His offense, however, was virtually helpless against Bartolo Colon and his defense was poor. As a result, an ill-timed walk (which came as a the result of a questionable ball two call) and maybe the only sharply-hit ball of the day by a Mets hitter led to a couple of runs. Scherzer took the loss even though he was effective and, at times, dominant. That happens in baseball.

But Thom Loverro of the Washington Times either does not understand or does not care that, on occasion, the outcome of a game can largely be out of the starting pitcher’s hands. After acknowledging that there was bad defense and that the Nats’ bats were silent, he says:

But the difference maker in a game like this is supposed to be Scherzer. That’s what great pitching does — erases miscues and not allow the big hit when they need it . . . Great pitching is supposed to overcome all. The guy on the mound with the ball still has control of the game . . . Max Scherzer pitched well. And he will likely be in control and dominate on the mound as part of this great Washington Nationals pitching staff.

But on Monday, Bartolo Colon pitched better. That can’t happen.

May as well just give up on the season now. And, perhaps, explore legal remedies against Scherzer for theft as a result of that big contract he signed.

Seriously, though, I know that many of you will say that Thom Loverro is not worth paying attention to. That it’s not even worth anyone’s time. Maybe not, in and of itself. But as a new season dawns, I feel it is necessary to note that, while any given column may be dumb, it and others like it are what form the basis of sports discourse. Loverro and many of his columny counterparts double as talk radio hosts. This kind of dumbness feeds that chatter. That chatter, eventually, starts to seep into even the less-dumb columns and takes from the local sporting scene (e.g. references in stories and interviews to “some people are saying  . . .” etc.) It’s not a perfect echo chamber of course, but it is an echo chamber. Eventually, a non-trivial number of fans buy this garbage. Which makes even talking about sports with people in bars and at work a monstrous pain.

A big reason I criticize stuff like this is because I simply won’t surrender to the notion that sports are so unimportant that there’s no harm in sports journalism being bad. Bull. We’ve all seen great sports journalism. We know how edifying and enjoyable it can be. We know how, at times, it can even enhance our enjoyment of the game itself by its very existence. Not everything has to read like Roger Angell, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t at least aim higher.

But I also criticize such things because I hate that so much conversation about sports is dumb and that, as noted above, so many of the conversations we have about sports become monstrous pains. I’d love to sit down in a bar in Washington and have someone say “Scherzer pitched well, but the defense stunk and stuff happens, ya know?” Then move on to other, less-dumb things. We should all want that.

Every other part of media is subject to media criticism, often by dedicated media critics, which everyone accepts. Sports journalism should not be singularly immune. And for that reason, I will continue to point out and critique stuff like this when I see it.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Masahiro Tanaka

Blue Jays 6, Yankees 1:Masahiro Tanaka’s lowish velocity and poor results probably have everyone in Gotham clenching their sphincters at the moment because there’s really not a path to the playoffs without their putative ace being healthy and effective. And, in this game, his lack of effectiveness is probably going to make many wonder if he’s healthy. Not that getting shelled by the Blue Jays is going to be an uncommon thing for teams this year. A couple of bombs, a couple of manufactured runs and there’s a six-spot against you. That was plenty for Drew Hutchinson.

Tigers 4, Twins 0: David Price cruised for eight and two-thirds. And, to be honest, totally could’ve finished this shutout off if Brad Ausmus’ Manager3000 software hadn’t beeped upon encountering the “base runner on in the ninth inning” subroutine that mandated the Ausmusbot to bring in the Closer Unit. Didn’t matter, of course. Homers from J.D. Martinez homer and Alex Avila were all the Tigers needed. Oh, and welcome to Detroit Yoenis Cespedes.

Rockies 10, Brewers 0: Getting shut down by Kyle Kendrick while allowing him his damn self to get two hits off of you and having your best player get hurt in the same game is pretty bad. Having the other guys drop a 10-spot on your Opening Day starter in the same game? Even worse. But hey, last year the Brewers started strong and then faded. Maybe they’re gonna do it up different this time.

Red Sox 8, Phillies 0: Cole Hamels wasn’t traded to the Red Sox like so many thought he would be, but that doesn’t mean a deal of some sort wasn’t done. Like, say, Hamels being secretly enlisted as a Red Sox spy. I mean, sure, it’s far-fetched, but it’s way easier to ensure a Red Sox win by serving them up meatballs yourself than it is to play for them and trying to stop the other team from doing the same. Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez each hit two bombs and Clay Buchholz looked like an ace (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 9K) even if Curt Schilling doesn’t think he does.

Orioles 6, Rays 2: Trvis Snider had three hits, drove in two and flashed some pretty sweet defense as the O’s beat the Rays. Alejandro De Aza, Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty all hit homers.

Mets 3, Nationals 1: All that hand-wringing over Matt Harvey not starting the opener and everyone being stuck with old man Bartolo Colon amounts to the old man allowing one run over six while striking out eight. Four relievers held that lead, but one of them was not Jenrry Mejia, who felt stiffness in his right elbow while warming in the bullpen during the game. He’s supposed to be the closer this year so, yeah, yikes.

Royals 10, White Sox 1: If I remember my 2014 narratives correctly, this is more runs than the Royals scored all last year. Alex Rios had a three-run homer and two other hits. The Royals scored five runs in the seventh. Yordano Ventura gave everyone a scare when he crumpled to the ground in pain, but it turns out it was just a cramp. Jesus, dude, don’t freak us out like that.

Mariners 4, Angels 1: Mike Trout got his in the form of a solo homer in the first, but that’s all anyone got off King Felix, who was otherwise untouchable (7IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 10K). Trout struck out his other three times to the plate so I suppose 2015 is picking up where 2015 left off for all of these dudes.

Reds 5, Pirates 2: With Opening Day, the Reds’ opportunity to sign Johnny Cueto to an extension before he hits free agency basically ended, as he is not going to negotiate during the seasons. And with Opening Day, the Reds are reminded that they don’t have a pitcher anywhere as good as Johnny Cueto, who struck out ten in seven shutout innings. He didn’t get the win because of some unholy combination of Kevin Gregg, the Elias Sports Bureau and society, but he’s still the best pitcher they’ve developed and he’s gonna either get dealt or walk away because, I assume, someone decided that Homer Bailey needed to get paid.

Dodgers 6, Padres 3: Clayton Kershaw wasn’t at his best (if you can call striking out nine guys not being at you best) but Adrian Gonzalez was (3-for-5, HR, 2B 2 R) as was Jimmy Rollins, who hit broke a 3-3 tie with a three-run homer in the eighth. I watched this one with my kids because, as I’ve noted recently, they’re Dodgers fans now. They didn’t get my joke about how Craig Kimbrel has gotten to watch all kinds of great moment in Dodger Stadium in recent years without actually getting to participate in them. But Dodgers fans know what I’m talking about. As do Braves fans. Padres fans who had to endure that never-ending eighth inning without the team’s best reliever coming into the game are starting to grok it some too.

Braves 2, Marlins 1: A rain delay in a domed stadium which included the home team’s new star fall on his face because of the slippery track. The Brave may have lost their closer on Sunday, but their pen was just fine yesterday. It escaped a bases loaded no-out jam in the seventh to preserve a one run lead. Nick Markakis drove in both of the Braves’ runs. Julio Tehrean scattered eight hits.

Astros 2, Indians 0: Dallas Keuchel outdueled Cory Kluber, tossing seven shutout innings. The Astros’ runs scored on an RBI single and a sac fly. Not that Kluber was chopped liver. He had a no-hitter into the sixth. His first hit allowed, however, went to Jose Altuve who then stole second and scored on that George Springer single.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4: Madison Bumgarner picked up where he left off last year, scattering six hits across seven innings, allowing one run and picking up the win. The top three in the Giants’ order — Nori Aoki, Joe Panik and Angel Pagan — combined to go 8 for 14 with four runs scored and two driven in.

Athletics 8, Rangers 0: Sonny Gray took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Ben Zobrist had a two-run homer and a double. It was the first time the A’s had won an Opening Day game since 2005, which seems impossible, but it’s true.

2015 Preview: Cleveland Indians

Terry Francona

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The Cleveland Indians.

The Big Question: Are the Indians trending up or down entering Terry Francona’s third year as manager?

After winning 92 games and a Wild Card spot in 2013 the Indians dropped to 85 wins last season, missing the playoffs by three games. Their division rivals all had very busy offseasons, but the Indians basically stood pat. First baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss was their lone big addition (Gavin Floyd too, but he’s already out for the year) and there were no notable departures, so Chris Antonetti, Mark Shapiro, and the Indians’ front office clearly believes last year’s team was capable of more and can take a step forward with better health and perhaps some help from prospects.

That’s definitely a reasonable approach, although it’s worth noting that the Indians declined by seven games last season and went just 85-77 despite a breakout, Cy Young-winning year from right-hander Corey Kluber and a breakout, MVP-caliber year from outfielder Michael Brantley. They got two spectacular performances from previously unspectacular players … and still barely finished above .500. So what happens if Kluber and/or Brantley come back down to earth a bit in 2015?

Fortunately for the Indians they have lots of under-30 talent with the upside to make up for any Kluber/Brantley-related declines. Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, and Trevor Bauer all have the potential to emerge as impact, high-strikeout starters and Carrasco already showed signs of doing so last year. Even after losing Floyd before he ever threw a pitch for them the Indians have quality, albeit largely untested rotation depth behind Kluber.

First baseman Carlos Santana’s overall numbers were plenty good–including 27 homers and a league-high 113 walks–but once he got on track following an absolutely brutal season-opening stretch that left him with a .150 batting average after six weeks he posted a .900 OPS for the final four months. Santana is one of the best switch-hitters in baseball, with 30-homer power and 100-walk patience.

Jason Kipnis had a breakout 2013, hitting .284 with 17 homers, 30 steals, and an .818 OPS to rank among the league’s best all-around players, and then signed a $52.5 million contract extension. He followed it up with a miserable 2014, struggling through injuries while hitting just .240 with six homers and a .640 OPS. His age and skill set suggest he should bounce back in a big way if healthy.

And by midseason the Indians may get a boost from stud prospect Francisco Lindor, a 21-year-old switch-hitting shortstop who ranks as a top-10 prospect according to Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus. Even if Kluber and Brantley take a step backward this season the Indians have the other pieces in place to be a contender and if Kluber and Brantley come anywhere close to repeating their 2014 performances Cleveland is a few breaks from rising as high as the best team in the league.

What else is going on?

  • I didn’t mention catcher Yan Gomes above, because I don’t think he has a ton of further upside at age 27. But he doesn’t need it, because he’s already one of the league’s best catchers. Gomes was acquired for pennies on the dollar from the Blue Jays before 2013 and has hit .284 with 32 homers, 45 doubles, and an .801 OPS in 223 games for the Indians. Among all MLB catchers during that time only Buster Posey and Jonathan Lucroy have a higher OPS and Gomes also has a high throw-out rate plus good pitch-framing numbers. He’s a stud.
  • Right-hander Cody Allen is a prime example of why the mystique and aura often attached to the closer role is so over the top. As a setup man in 2013 he threw 70 innings with an 88/26 K/BB ratio. As a closer in 2014 he threw 69 innings with a 91/26 K/BB ratio. Basically identical performance, except he pitches the ninth inning now instead of the eighth inning. And he’s one of the league’s top closers.
  • Brandon Moss was a mess down the stretch for the A’s last year and it was later revealed he played through a torn hip labrum. That’s never a positive thing, but he’s looked good this spring and Moss had 21 homers with an .878 OPS in the first half last year after topping an .850 OPS in 2012 and 2013. It’s tough to count on Nick Swisher for much of anything at this point, but Moss adds another big bat.
  • Cleveland is going for a third straight winning season for the first time since way back in 2001, when the Indians were the kings of the AL Central and won their sixth division title in the span of seven seasons. Their Opening Day starter that season? Bartolo Colon, who 13 years later will be the Mets’ Opening Day starter this season.

Prediction: Neck and neck with the Tigers all season and a Wild Card spot if they fall short in the division.