It’s difficult to talk about Bartolo Colon without making some mention of his age. At 44 years and 72 days old, the Twins’ veteran right-hander is the oldest active alumnus of the Montreal Expos, the oldest pitcher to hit a home run (2016, age 42), the third 40-something to strike out three batters on Opening Day (2015, age 41), the first 40-something to start a season with four straight wins (2015, age 41), and in general just the oldest active player in Major League Baseball, period.
On Friday night, he did it again, pitching a nine-inning complete game win to become the oldest right-handed starter with a complete game since 1994 (Charlie Hough, age 46), the oldest pitcher to toss a complete game against the Rangers since 1988 (Tommy John, age 45), the oldest American League pitcher to win a complete game since 1992 (Nolan Ryan, age 45), the oldest pitcher with a complete game since 2010 (Jamie Moyer, age 47) and the oldest Twins pitcher to ever record a complete game.
If there’s one thing that Colon has proven time and time again, however, it’s that age is irrelevant.
He dominated the Rangers during Friday’s 8-4 win, striking out five of 36 batters and yielding four runs on nine hits and a walk. Colon expended 14 pitches in the first inning, slipping a two-RBI single to Adrian Beltre as the Rangers mounted an early 2-0 lead. The Twins quickly erased the deficit in the bottom of the inning, scoring four off of opposing starter Martin Perez and chasing him out of the game by the fifth.
Colon allowed another RBI single in the third inning, this one a two-out line drive by Nomar Mazara, but rebounded with five consecutive scoreless frames as the Twins built their five-run lead. In the ninth inning, with two outs and the win in sight, the righty served up an 0-1 changeup to Carlos Gomez for the Rangers’ first and only home run of the evening, then retired Brett Nicholas to clinch the win.
The win marked Colon’s first victory with the Twins and third of the 2017 season. He’s not a spring chicken, to be sure. But his age isn’t the most interesting thing about him, and (7.70 ERA and 0.3 fWAR aside) it’s certainly not preventing him from seeing results on the mound.