Game 101, Mets at Mariners
Taijuan Walker vs. Bartolo Colon, 12:40pm
Taijuan Walker moves up to make this start after Erasmo Ramirez was rewarded for his sterling performance last night with a bus ticket back to Tacoma. It sounds crueler than it is, but here’s to Erasmo for stepping up when he (and the bullpen) needed him.
Bartolo Colon’s late-career, and really, it’s more like post-career, resurgence is still jaw-dropping to me. No longer the pudgy fireballer who won an undeserving Cy Young, he’s now a middle-of-the-rotation workhorse and, of course, the face that launched a thousand gifs. We’ve talked about it plenty here thanks to his time with the Oakland A’s, but the Bartolo Colon of this decade pounds the zone with fastballs. That’s almost all you need to know – he doesn’t establish the fastball, the fastball’s essentially all he has. Combining his 91-92mph four-seamer and 88-90mph sinker, he throws over 80% fastballs, the most in baseball. You’d think that as his velocity declines and the word gets out after several years of this that he’d suffer for it. And sure, his ERA is uglier now than it was when he pitched in Oakland. But Oakland’s the perfect stadium for a flyballer who challenges hitters, and he’s been unlucky thus far with the Mets. Sure, his HR/FB ratio’s crept up thanks to his new park (and not getting to visit Safeco so often), but his strand rate’s down dramatically, despite no real change to his BABIP. He’s posted FIPs in the 3′s each year since 2010, and that’s where he’s at in 2014.
Tai Walker returns from the minors as promised. The team sent him down not because of injury or ineffectiveness, but because they wanted him to continue to get some starts – something he may not have been able to do with the All-Star break breaking up the big league schedule. He’s been predictably wild in his two starts this year, walking five in his last start on July 6th. He was slightly better, but not great in his two starts in AAA after that, walking a combined four (with one HBP), and striking out just two in 10 innings pitched. Still, he’s on long rest and should be sharper today (knocks on wood).
1: Chavez, RF
2: Jones, CF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Seager, 3B
5: Hart, DH
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Ackley, LF
8: Miller, SS
9: Sucre, C
James Paxton made a rehab start for Tacoma in last night’s DH against Las Vegas. He gave up three runs on two HRs in the first inning, but settled down after that, going 3IP yielding 3R on 3H (2HRs), walking 1 and K’ing 4. He was opposed by fellow injured-phenom Noah Syndergaard, who was brilliant, throwing 6 1/3 shutout against the Rainiers. The R’s won the second game, though, with a great pitching performance by one-time (and future?) prospect Forrest Snow, who’s been lights out in limited duty after his suspension. Andrew Carraway starts today for the Rainiers, and Stephen Landazuri takes the hill for AA Jackson.