With the exception of the (very) recent past, it has been a storybook season for 40-year-old Bartolo Colon in Oakland. After Friday’s events, we may have some clarity on why he has struggled in recent days.
Colon reportedly injured his groin while throwing on flat ground on Friday, and the A’s are poised to place him on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday in order to make room for his replacement. In his past 2 starts, Colon has allowed a total of 10 earned runs in just 6.2 innings, and there is a real possibility that he was either injured previously, or that he simply wearing down.
Before the regression, Colon had been performing in a spectacular, expectation-exceeding way all season. Even with the downturn, his ERA is a sparkling 2.97 on the season, and his walk rate is elite at 1.46 walks per 9 innings. Many people have openly suspected Colon of performance-enhancing drug use, but the simple fact is that his incredible, pinpoint control has been the impetus for his success this year despite a thoroughly mediocre offering in the “stuff” department.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin suggested that a small break could be beneficial for Colon, and I would agree with that. He has carried Oakland’s rotation this season, but with guys like Tommy Milone (who will be called up in his place) and Brett Anderson ready to join the rotation soon, the team can afford the loss if it means that a healthy, effective Colon will rejoin them for the stretch run.
At 40 years old, it’s been an incredible ride for Bartolo Colon, and we can only hope that it continues.