Bartolo Colon, Hisashi Iwakuma Highlight Battle of AL’s Top Pitchers

Jun 16, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon (40) pitching during the first inning in a game against the Seattle Mariners at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

A matchup between the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners may not be the most exciting by itself, but it’s intriguing when adding two of the American League’s top starting pitchers to the mix.

Bartolo Colon and the relatively-unknown Hisashi Iwakuma will be on the mound in tonight’s AL West matchup. Both teams are coming off two straight losses against other teams in the division over the weekend. The Texas Rangers have crept back to just one game behind the Athletics for the division lead, and the Angels move to 1.5 games ahead of the Mariners. However, both of them still trail the A’s and Rangers by at least nine games.

Colon has re-emerged since his setbacks in recent years. He didn’t play at all in 2010 with the New York Yankees after suffering multiple injuries in his right shoulder and elbow, and was demoted to the bullpen in 2011. He was suspended for 50 games beginning last August after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

It’s been a solid recovery since signing with the A’s for a one-year, $3 million contract. Colon has won his last six starts and holds a 9-2 overall record, second-best in the AL, with a 2.89 earned run average.

Iwakuma could be considered an ace if it wasn’t for the Mariners already having Felix Hernandez in their rotation. In his second season with the Seattle-based team, Iwakuma has a 7-2 record with a 2.09 ERA, second-best in the AL, and 90 strikeouts.

He’ll try to rebound since his last outing, which coincidentally was against the same team. He gave up eight hits and four earned runs, en route to a 10-2 loss. Three of his last four outings were wins, but in the one loss he gave up just three hits and no runs in eight innings — the bullpen gave up seven runs in a walk-off loss by the Chicago White Sox.

First pitch between the Athletics and Mariners is scheduled for 7:05 PM PDT.

Topics: Bartolo Colon, Hisashi Iwakuma, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners

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