Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Know Your Enemy: Bartolo Colon

This ought to take a while. The Astros try to not get swept by the A's twice in the first 15 games of the season, when they take the field at 2:35pm (Central) at Whatever The A's Now Call Their Field.

The A's are 5-0 against Houston in 2013, and are 10-1 against Houston all-time. The lone Houston pitcher to get a win over Oakland? Dave Borkowski (June 12, 2007).

Taking the mound for Oakland is...

*39-year old 5'11" 265lb RHP Bartolo Colon.
*Colon signed with the Cleveland Indians as an amateur free agent in 1993. For perspective, Astros' 2013 #1 overall pick Carlos Correa was born in 1994.
*In 1995, Colon became the only player to throw a no-hitter in Buffalo's Dunn Tire Park.
*This is interesting: On June 26, 1998 Colon and the Indians faced the Houston Astros in Cleveland. Colon went 8IP, 5H/2ER, 7K:1BB, but leading off the top of the 8th was Astros SS Ricky Gutierrez. Here is the pitch log of that AB:

Swinging Strike, Swinging Strike, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Swinging Strike (K).

*Those 20 pitches are the most pitches thrown in a single AB.
*Colon ended up going 75-45 with a 3.92 ERA in six seasons for Cleveland, and in 2002 was traded by the Indians with Tim Drew to the Expos for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore, and Lee Stevens. That was a bad trade.
*He was then traded in January 2003 to the White Sox for Rocky Biddle, Orlando Hernandez (El Duque), Jeff Liefer and cash.
*Free agent stints with the Angels, Red Sox, White Sox, Yankees, and A's followed - but not before he missed the entire 2010 season due to ongoing shoulder and elbow issues. He received a stem cell transplant to repair tissues in his right shoulder. The surgeon said he used HGH in similar surgeries - but not with Colon. An MLB investigation revealed nothing untoward.
*On August 22, 2012 Colon was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for synthetic testosterone - his return from suspension was against the Astros in G6.

*In G6, Colon allowed 8H/3ER, 2K:0BB, but got the win as the A's defeated Houston 6-3 at Minute Maid Park. 58 of his 83 pitches were for strikes - 18 of them looking. He did allow a homer to Jason Castro.
*According to FanGraphs, Colon is throwing some version of a fastball 93.5% of the time so far in 2013 (up from 89.2mph in 2012), and it's sitting at 90.5mph. Occasionally (like, 3% of the time each) he throws an 82.5mph slider and an 83.4mph changeup.
*Carlos Pena has 37 of the 59 career PAs for the Astros against Colon. He's 10x33 with 15K:3BB, 3HR. Nobody else has more than three PAs - Jason Castro, J.D. Martinez and Justin Maxwell were 2x3 against him.

*Bud Norris will be making his fourth start of the season , and the Astros are 2-1 in his starts this season. His last time against Oakland (G5), he took the loss allowing five runs (2ER) on 2HR.
*Norris seems to be using his changeup more. In 2012, he threw his fastball 56.7% of the time, and his changeup 6.7% of the time. Through three starts, the fastball is now at 51.4% with the changeup coming in at 13.3%.