Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Untraditional Bartolo notches fifth win

Veteran righty, 41, ties Major League lead in wins with strong 7 2/3 innings
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Before Tuesday's 3-2 Mets win over the Orioles, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter went on a New York-based talk radio show genuinely sounding scared of Bartolo Colon.

"For our sake, I hope he's not on tonight," Showalter said.

View Full Game Coverage

NEW YORK -- Before Tuesday's 3-2 Mets win over the Orioles, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter went on a New York-based talk radio show genuinely sounding scared of Bartolo Colon.

"For our sake, I hope he's not on tonight," Showalter said.

View Full Game Coverage

After the game, Mets manager Terry Collins described him as "brave."

"He has to be brave," Collins said.

If all this sounds comic-booky, it's because Colon is becoming an ultimate character. Entertaining at the plate, dominant on the mound. His starts rarely fail to provide both humor and awe. For opponents, no pitcher inspires more frustration while looking less formidable. And despite being vastly untraditional, Colon's continued success at age 41 is rooted heavily in a simple pitching fundamental.

Video: BAL@NYM: Colon misses ball, hits helmet on strikeout

The man that rarely runs also never lets anyone walk.

"Didn't one game he throw, like, 80 strikes in a row?" Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer said. "Or something ridiculous?"

Bordering on ridiculous is the control streak Colon has going. He has now thrown 34 1/3 straight innings without walking a batter after providing another 7 2/3 pinpoint frames Tuesday. Colon was economical, needing just 97 pitches to improve to 5-1, which is tied for the Major League lead in wins. His ERA is 2.90. His walk rate, almost nonexistent. In fact, he's only walked one batter all season in six starts.

"He lives and dies by command. And he has to be brave. He thinks, 'If you're going to beat me, you have to swing the bats,'" Collins said. "Hitting is not easy, and he goes about it that way."

Colon surely made it tough on Baltimore on Tuesday. He struck out leadoff man Manny Machado in the first and cruised from there until Machado's solo home run in the seventh.

Video: BAL@NYM: Machado hits solo homer for O's first run

In between, Colon scattered five hits and struck out nine, despite never reaching 90 mph. He once again inspired head scratches from players on both sides of the field. He put Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph, in particular, in fits by striking him out three times. Joseph muttered to himself, shaking his head, while Juan Lagares did the same in center field.

"His ball moves so much," Lagares said. "You can see it from anywhere on the field."

"He's amazing," said Wilmer Flores, who enjoyed a flawless night fielding and scored a run in his return to the starting lineup. "Every time he goes out there, we know it's going to be a quick game. That's what we all like."

Lagares and Flores have seen it before. For all the Mets, Colon's success is becoming routine. But Showalter has seen it longer. With the win Tuesday, Colon became the first pitcher to beat an opponent as a member of seven different teams.

Colon previously topped Baltimore as a member of the Indians in 2002, with the White Sox in '03, the Angels in '05, Red Sox in '08, the Yankees in '11 and the A's in '12.

The last three have come against Showalter-managed Oriole teams.

"All the credit goes to the team. They played a great game behind me," Colon said. "I'm happy to do my part."

Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

New York Mets, Bartolo Colon