OAKLAND -- There are nights when Bartolo Colon's pitches start to show their age and end up getting hit hard and deep. Having to deal with back stiffness certainly didn't help.That was the case on Monday, when Colon gave up three home runs and four doubles over five-plus innings in
OAKLAND -- There are nights when Bartolo Colon's pitches start to show their age and end up getting hit hard and deep. Having to deal with back stiffness certainly didn't help.
That was the case on Monday, when Colon gave up three home runs and four doubles over five-plus innings in a 9-0 Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum. Colon allowed seven runs on 10 hits overall and had a two-game winning streak come to an end.
"I was feeling good, but in the Major Leagues if you leave your pitches high, you will pay," Colon said. "That's what happened. I was missing high and I paid for it."
Colon, who spent the weekend getting treatment on his back, is now 7-11 with a 5.45 ERA in 23 starts and two relief appearances for the Rangers. At age 45, Colon has done his best to serve as a bulwark in the Rangers' jumbled rotation, being the staff leader in innings pitched.
But Athletics rookie Ramon Laureano hit the first two home runs of his career off Colon, and Khris Davis also went deep. Colon has now allowed 29 home runs this season, the second most in the American League. Opponents also have a .524 slugging percentage off him, the highest allowed by any AL pitcher.
"From our vantage point, it looked like he couldn't find anything in the bottom of the zone to get these guys to hit the ball on the ground," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "When we know Bartolo is a little bit up in the zone, it does make it a challenge for him. Seemed like he was fighting his release point and trying to find some sink on the fastball, trying to find some movement on the changeup."
Colon had gone six days since his last start and said the back only bothered him "a little bit." Instead, he gave credit to the Athletics, who won for the 41st time in their last 55 games and are tied with the Astros for first place in the American League West.
"They're playing good and they're hitting good, so you have to give credit to them," Colon said.
Banister said the Rangers wouldn't have sent Colon to the mound if he was physically unable to pitch.
"This is a veteran pitcher who I believe is honest with us on how he is feeling," Banister said. "Obviously it had been a few days since he has been out there, couple extra days. He gave us a thumbs up and said he was ready to go. Could the extra days have something to do with it? Maybe, but I trust a veteran guy like that."
Colon said he is still holding up physically even at this point in the season and is not feeling fatigued.
"I know after the All-Star break a lot of players get tired but myself, no," Colon said. "I know it's a long season, and I prepare and I work hard. As long as I've played, having an ERA that is high bothers me. But I am just going to keep pitching and see if I can get that down."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Rangers managed just one hit in seven innings against right-hander Mike Fiers, who was making his third start for Oakland after being acquired from the Tigers for a Minor League player. The only hit was a double by Nomar Mazara to lead off the second inning, a line drive that hit third base just inside fair territory.
Fiers then hit Jurickson Profar with a pitch, but that was the last baserunner he allowed. He retired the next 18 batters before turning it over to the bullpen in the eighth.
"We had him early in the second when he couldn't find the strike zone," Banister said. "Seemed like we had him in a place where we wanted him, and he settled in and made some pitches in that situation. After the second inning, he settled in, got ahead, started mixing and making quality pitches. He made it challenging for our guys."
Davis has 26 career home runs in 186 at-bats against the Rangers. That comes out to a home run for ever 7.15 at-bats. That's the best ever for one player against one team with a minimum of 150 at-bats.
HE SAID IT
"We had a scouting report on him, but obviously this was the first time we've seen him. We got a ball up and he hit it out to right, and a flat changeup and he hit it out to left. Pretty good swing." -- Banister, on Laureano
Ariel Jurado will try to get turned around when he pitches against the Athletics on Tuesday (9:05 p.m. CT) at the Oakland Coliseum. Jurado has allowed 12 runs in 11 innings in his last two starts against the Yankees and Angels. Prior to that, he won back-to-back starts against the Astros and Orioles by allowing three runs in 11 innings. Left-handers are hitting .356 off him while right-handers are hitting .237. Left-hander Brett Anderson starts for the A's.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.