Bartolo Colon is not going down without a fight…
If Bartolo Colon is going to be relegated to a cheerleading role during the playoffs, he certainly isn’t going down without a fight.
Two days after helping to save an overworked and underperforming bullpen, Colon took the mound against the Phillies and delivered eight brilliant innings, allowing four hits and a walk with a season-high tying nine strikeouts for his second consecutive winning decision, both of which are against Philadelphia.
He has now tallied 16 consecutive scoreless innings, capping a very successful month in which he went 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA in 41 1/3 innings.
Terry Collins said Colon has changed his routine in between starts lately, which he believes has helped him have better command.
“I think he got a little frustrated when he went through that streak where things weren’t working very good,” Collins explained. “The last two times out, he’s actually thrown a couple times between the starts. I think the fact that he’s thrown a little bit more, he’s found his command, he’s found his release point, and he’s pitched great.”
Even 42-year-old players have to adjust.
He was in complete control of the Phillies on Monday. Unlike his last time out against the Phillies when he decided to adjust and work with his off-speed pitches, Colon worked primarily with his two-seam fastball. It had a little more movement on that pitch than he typically has, but he was also throwing it harder than he normally does as well, topping out at 93 mph on several occasions throughout the night. The Phillies were late on a lot of them, which helped Colon rack up strikeouts and quickly thanks to staying ahead in the count as he normally does.
He also was a huge part of the Mets offense on Monday. In the fifth inning after the Mets had taken a 1-0 lead on Michael Conforto’s home run, Colon singled with two outs, prolonging the inning for Curtis Granderson, who followed with a two-run home run to right field.
It was Colon’s seventh hit of the season, a big one at that.
“I’m really happy for that one, to accomplish that, my own personal record,” Colon said about his hit. “Now I’m going to keep working hard to see if I can break my own record and establish a new record, eight hits.”
Despite the two fantastic starts, Colon’s role after the regular season ends remains up in the air. He is almost certain to be on the outside looking in for a role in the starting rotation, unless he serves as an injury replacement. The club had him pitch out of the bullpen on Saturday, and the Mets are saying it was because the Mets needed to give their other relievers a break.
But it also might have served as an audition for Colon to see if he can handle a short-notice call to come in and pitch if needed out of the bullpen.
In either case, Colon was happy to help the club out of the bullpen on Saturday.
“More than anything, I did it because the bullpen needed help, I did it for the team,” Colon explained about his first relief appearance since 2011 . “I’m here for the team. I’m here to pitch and help the team win, whatever it takes.
“It doesn’t matter what the decision will be, I’m here to pitch and that’s nothing that I can control,” Colon continued. “I’m here to pitch and I’ll pitch anywhere they need me.”
And the Mets should be glad they have a guy who can put his ego aside and do what he can to help get the club to the postseason, regardless of what the future holds for him.