One of my favorite moves of the offseason was the signing of Bartolo Colon to a two year, $20 million dollar deal. And while I never expected him to duplicate his near-Cy Young season of a year ago, I loved the veteran presence he was bringing and his ability to bear down in every game, throw strikes and give our team a chance to win.
Once you get past all the fat and age related jokes, you might just find that Colon is every bit the ace of this team.
Last night we saw Colon stymie the Atlanta Braves and toss seven scoreless innings as the he picked up his first win of the season and his first as a member of the Mets.
There was no nibbling on the corners, no long delays in between pitches, and no unnecessary wasted pitches. All we got was a blue-collar, nose-to-the-grindstone performance – the kind we don’t get enough of.
Colon allowed just six hits, no walks and struck out five. In a word, he was stellar. Among his 101 pitches thrown, the soon to be 41-year old threw 65 of his 88 fastballs for strikes.
When he threw his final pitch of the evening, a 93 mph fastball to retire Jason Heyward on a groundout, he looked like he was ready to go all the way. This guy wasn’t even breaking a sweat.
“He was really, really good tonight,” said Terry Collins after the game. “He pitched in, pitched out, pitched down, pitched up. He really gave them a different look no matter what he was throwing. He really did a good job.”
Asked about his dominating performance, Colon told reporters he felt great. “Especially when you face a team as tough as Atlanta, you prepare to be very tough mentally. So that’s how I felt today.”
Perhaps his catcher Travis d’Arnaud described it best. “His ball moves all over. I don’t even know what to say. I just know he has command of all his pitches and he did what he wanted to do.”
What made his performance even more remarkable was that Colon pitched the entire evening with a heavy heart.
“I have not had my head in baseball for several days. Not since they called me from my house to tell me that my mom has cancer,” Colon told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.
His mother, Adriana Morales, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and Bartolo will learn the results of further tests today.
“It’s a situation where you’re trying to be strong, but you cannot,” Colon said. “Everyone in the family is very worried, hoping the results come out negative. But when you hear the word cancer, you always think the worst.”
Colon plans to bring his mother to New York to ensure the best care.
“My mom is my best friend, my confidant,” he said. “I talk to her every day, and the only thing that comforts me is that she has not lost her sense of humor. She is a very happy woman.”
Say a prayer for our ace who left it all on the field last night. Let’s hope he gets some good news today about his mom…