Bart Man and The Dice Man

Dice-K warms up in the Mets bullpen on May 18, 2014 at Nats Park. I observe and work on my tan/sunburn.
Dice-K warms up in the Mets bullpen on May 18, 2014 at Nats Park. I observe and work on my tan/sunburn. Photo: Taylor Adkins

Bartolo Colon retired the first 20 Mariners he faced yesterday at Safeco Field in Seattle. A no hitter or perfect game isn’t quite as noteworthy in the post steroid era as it used to be, with 22 no hitters between all of 2000-2009 and 15 from 2010-present. However, Bartolo Colon is a 41 year old man. He’s also probably not on a Gluten Free diet and probably does polish off two Presidente’s before he takes the hill. He also has a nearly 5 to 1 strikeout ration over 126.2 innings pitched and has only been knocked out of a game once before the 5th this season for the Mets.

I had a front row seat for Colon’s start on May 17 at Nationals Park when he scattered 5 hits over 8 innings en route to a 5-2 Mets win. I mentioned the “post steroid” era, but Colon has had his name brought up in the PED discussions over the past three seasons. Still, it’s tough not to root for him as he places his fastballs (thrown 82% of the time) throughout the strike zone while mixing in some sliders. There’s a chance we won’t get to see him hit anymore, which has been the source of some of the most comical moments of the 2014 season. He’s been implicated in trade talks which could move him out of the NL. A trade would also be unfortunate for the New York Post headline writers. All it would take is one poor outing for a pack of eager Post headline writers to try and reach their editor first with “COLON STINKS!”  written in their notepads.

Speaking of resurgent Mets pitchers on the trade block, Daisuke Matsuzaka has quietly done yeoman’s work in the Metropolitans rotation and bullpen, recording his first career save in the process. After two very strong seasons to start his career in Boston, Dice-K faced a litany of injuries as well as scrutiny from the Boston press. An overzealous workout and training regiment was a popular target for blame, and eventually Matsuzaka would get Tommy John surgery in 2011. Dice-K’s stats this year aren’t overwhelming (72.1 innings, 69 strikeouts but 44 walks) and you can make a Dagwood sandwich by the time he’s done with his windup, but there is value in a flexible pitching option (9 starts, 18 relief appearances) that can eat up innings. His 7 career playoff starts aren’t too relevant, with the most recent coming in 2008, but a team lacking pitching may see value in a veteran guy who can still get strikeouts with his fast ball and cutter and stretch out to a 100+ pitches when needed.


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