Oakland Athletics’ Bartolo Colon Is Having Best Season Of Career
Bartolo Colon is pitching better than he ever has. The former CY Young winner has not only retained his form, and I`m not referring to the ever growing belt size, but he has improved. When you learn a little more about this forty year old right hander many eyebrows will be raised on how Bartolo is maintaining such a great season.
Bartolo is a fastball pitcher, and one who throws a high percentage of strikes. Usually when a fastball pitcher ages he learns new pitches and structures a strategy that compliments the lack of power he loses over time. The loose tongued Ron Washington said it best while describing Colon
[quote]”He may be too fat, but there’s nothing wrong with his arm. And he’s smart. He’s stuck it to us a couple of times now. He’s not pitching like he’s 40.”[/quote]
Well said Ron. Bartolo isn`t pitching like he is 40, he is pitching better than when he was in his 20`s. After winning the 2005 CY Young the young Bartolo started to experience elbow issues at the end of 2009 and did not play till the 2011 season. During Bartolo`s 2010 off season, Bartolo was reported to have received a peculiar treatment in his home country, the Dominican Republic, in which stem cells from Bartolo`s fat and bone marrow were re-entered into Colon`s elbow. Colon`s doctors confirmed that they had not administered growth hormones and it seemed that Colon`s procedure was in the clear.
Fast forward to last year and Bartolo was amidst yet another procedure conspiracy. The Oakland Athletic`s pitcher was suspended for fifty games due to violating the MLB`s substance abuse policy. There was no lengthy appeal process, no fabricated story of how Bartolo unknowingly took a prescribed substance, and there were no excuses. Bartolo accepted the consequence, apologized to his fans, and watched the green and gold finish off a magical season.
After coming off the latest suspension, Bartolo has shined. Another suspension looms over the 40 year old Dominican, but he continues to beat the strike zone with less than blazing fastballs. That is not to say that Bartolo is riding lady luck to his 10-2 season. He maintains fantastic control, allows very few homers and walks close to no one. In Bartolo`s last seven games he has maintained a blazing 1.41 ERA and his ERA is not what makes Bartolo stand out. Bartolo leads a group of very young starters and his example is seen by everyone. Dan Straily had only the best to say about Bartolo.
[quote]”There are many things I’d like to be and one of them is to be in absolute control of my emotions when pitching like he is. He could be throwing a perfect game, or he could just have given up 10 hits and 10 runs in the first inning without getting an out, and you wouldn’t notice any difference.” Straily continued “We were all sitting there, wondering whether he’d get to 50 innings pitched before he got to two walks and he almost did.”[/quote]
As the season draws to the half-way point and Bartolo keeps collecting wins, the curly haired veteran continues to love the game. As I watch Bartolo gingerly walk around the field in between innings, I keep wondering when clock is going to click midnight and Bartolo will enter the cornfield with his fastball pitching predecessors. But in the meantime, Bartolo is putting together an All-Star season and barring another injury, I believe that he will help the Athletics get even further into the postseason than before.