What Might Ageless Wonder Bartolo Colon Do for Encore vs. Mariners?

Matthew Jordan

Friday, April 20, 2018 2:41 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 20, 2018 2:41 PM UTC

At nearly 45 years of age, Texas pitcher Bartolo Colon nearly made MLB history in his last start. Why do I think things won’t go so well Saturday night against visiting Seattle?

Seattle Mariners at Texas RangersFree MLB Pick: MarinersBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Pretty much had my pick of MLB games to preview Saturday, and there’s a magnificent matchup from Los Angeles between the Nationals and Dodgers. However, I’ll let someone else at SBR handle that. I’m here to talk Mariners at Rangers, an 8:05 p.m. ET first pitch from Arlington. More specifically, I want to talk Bartolo Colon.

There have been 23 official perfect games in Major League Baseball history. The first was by Lee Richmond on June 12, 1880, as his Ruby Legs beat the Blues 1-0. The most recent was by the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez on Aug. 15, 2012, in a 1-0 win over the Rays.

So, what has been the most unlikely perfect game ever? Obviously, I’m not a baseball historian so I can’t speak to that. I would argue it was Don Larsen’s for the Yankees in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers as that remains the only postseason perfecto. If I were to argue the most unlikely in the past 50 years or so in terms of the quality of pitcher who threw it, then I’d pick the White Sox’s Philip Humber on April 21, 2012, in a 4-0 win over the Mariners. Humber was a scrub with a career 16-23 record in the majors with a 5.31 ERA. He bounced around with five teams, last with Houston in 2013.

All that said, we nearly had the most unlikely BY FAR perfect game ever last Sunday in Houston. The Rangers’ rotund 44-year-old Colon (45 next month) took a perfect game into the eighth inning against the defending World Series champions and the most feared lineup in baseball – on their field.

Alas, Colon walked Carlos Correa to lead off the eighth and Josh Reddick followed with a double. Colon would have been the oldest to throw a no-no. The record is held, of course, by Nolan Ryan, who threw his seventh and last in 1991 at the age of 44 years, 90 days. Randy Johnson (40 years, 252 days) is the oldest player to throw a perfect game

Colon (0-0, 1.45) ended up going 7.2 innings and allowing one run with seven strikeouts in a no-decision. He has been great so far, allowing just three earned runs and 11 hits in 18.2 innings. This is shocking considering Colon only throws 90 mph fastballs these days and not much else -- of Colon's 96 pitches vs. Houston, 83 were fastballs -- and was one of the worst starters in baseball last year with a combined 6.48 ERA with the Braves and Twins. Texas signed him to a minor-league deal in February.

This is Colon’s first look at Seattle this year. He has faced the Mariners more than any other team in his career, going 20-12 with a 3.84 ERA in 37 starts with three complete games and one shutout. Dee Gordon is a career .375 hitter off him in 32 at-bats. Robinson Cano is 7-for-18 with a homer. Nelson Cruz just 2-for-15 with four Ks. Kyle Seager 4-for-24 with five Ks.

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Paxton Doesn’t Like Arlington

Seattle counters with lefty James Paxton, who essentially took over ace status from Hernandez last year. Paxton, a Canadian lefty, is 1-1 and 4.57 ERA in four starts this year. That ERA is inflated due to allowing six runs in 4.2 innings in his season debut vs. Cleveland. Since then, he has a 2.65 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 17 innings. Batters are hitting only .226 against him.

Arlington hasn’t been kind to Paxton as he’s 0-2 with a 6.16 ERA in four career games in that hitter-friendly ballpark. Adrian Beltre is 9-for-16 career off Paxton with a homer and six RBIs. Shin-Soo Choo is 4-for-9. Delino DeShields Jr. is 4-for-14 with five Ks.

Speaking of DeShields, the outfielder is likely to be activated from the DL on Saturday as long as there were no setbacks Friday in his rehab with Double-A Frisco. DeShields underwent surgery April 2 for a fractured hamate bone in his left hand and was originally thought to miss six weeks. DeShields has no power but had a solid .347 on-base percentage last year and 29 steals in 120 games. Texas is already without 2B Rougned Odor and SS Elvis Andrus, both on the DL.

  • Mariners are 8-3 in Paxton’s last 11 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance.
  • Rangers are 1-5 in their last 6 home games vs. a left-handed starter.

Colon has been a fun story, but a course correction is coming soon. I believe that’s Saturday. Take the Mariners for an MLB pick.

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