Bartolo Colon: About Last Night (August 14)

I sometimes like to play the “What If” game when it comes to baseball. It’s something I used to do as a kid, and it’s just sort of carried over into being an adult. You know, what if Yoenis Cespedes didn’t strike out with runners on second and third with nobody out in the third? What if Juan Uribe didn’t popup right after? I’m sure most people do the same thing. Message boards post games sure read like it anyway. So, naturally, I play the what if Bartolo Colon threw like this against Tampa game after last night’s game. If you swap those games out, the Mets still lose to the Pirates but at least they’re up one in the win column. It’s a silly game.

Something to do when you’re watching three hours of baseball.

I also secretly dread games after scoring double-digits. I have this fear that a team has only a finite, predetermined number of runs they can score in a season, and they shouldn’t go wasting them all in one game. Isn’t that dumb? I love watching the team score 12 runs, but even during those blowouts I wonder if maybe they shouldn’t save some of those for later use. Then, I play the what if game by wondering if you could borrow a few from a previous game and add them to the current game’s total.

I thought the Mets a good chance to take the first in this three game series against the Pirates. They were playing at home where the team was 42-18 coming into Friday night’s game, and they had just swept a four-game series against a tough Colorado team. The pitching was amazing as always, and in the first game they faced J.A. Happ. They wouldn’t have to face Gerrit Cole in this series? Sounds good.

Colon did about everything he could to help the team win. I’m not sure you can ask any more out of him, especially against a team like the Pirates. He made one mistake to Neil Walker, and really, Neil Walker? I mean he’s not Jordy Mercer in terms of least threatening Bucs batter, but he doesn’t strike terror in my heart or a quiver in my lip when I hear his name. Pedro Alvarez hitting one out of the stadium does.

There weren’t any great tricks with Colon’s outing. He mixed locations well, and I’ve noticed lately that he’s been throwing his slider more, particularly establishing it earlier in the game. Maybe he doesn’t throw it 35% of the time like Joe Ross does with the Nationals, but if Colon can plant just enough doubt in a batter’s mind it’s enough to force weaker contact and those lazy fly balls I love oh so much. The seven strikeouts were one shy of Colon’s season high, and four of those were those fancy backward K’s. I love seeing those from Colon because it’s a sign that his two-seamer is moving like it’s sliding across a floor covered in marbles (c’mon, an old school cartoon visual). Two of those were to Happ, so take it for what it’s worth, but if you haven’t heard, pitchers still swing the bat too.

I love that Colon struck out Aramis Ramirez with a changeup. Yes, I love the changeup, and yes I find it funny to watch guys swing and miss badly. It brings me joy. With Colon, too, there’s no way you can sit on that pitch or even look for it. He throws it six times a game. He threw it six times last night, six times against Tampa, and five times against Miami. Even if it was six against Miami, I’m only writing five. If we’ve established anything in this post, it should be about silly superstitions.

It was a solid outing by Colon, and while the Mets lost in extras, it’s okay because I finally watched the Newsroom yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Why is that important? It’s not. If I was looking for an angle with that I could write something about Jeff Daniels defying expectations and casting away, in my mind, association with Dumb & Dumber and not being a serious actor, like Colon did with a great start against Pittsburgh after his up and down season, but that seems like a stretch and we’re too smart for that.

No. I was just looking for something new to watch.

So, on the night, Colon tossed seven innings and allowed one earned run on five hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Below I’ve listed the particulars for yesterday’s game.

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup     6 6.38
##    Fourseam    19 20.2
##    Two-seam    58 61.7
##      Slider    11 11.7

Pitch Type by Inning

##          1 2 3  4 5 6 7
## Changeup 0 2 2  2 0 0 0
## Fourseam 6 0 2  2 6 1 2
## Two-seam 5 9 9 15 8 6 6
## Slider   2 0 1  3 2 0 3

Pitches by Outcome:

##                     Changeup Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                       1       10       21      4
## Called Strike              1        3       12      2
## Foul                       1        2        6      2
## Foul (Runner Going)        0        0        2      0
## Foul Bunt                  1        0        0      1
## Foul Tip                   0        1        0      0
## In play, no out            0        0        4      0
## In play, out(s)            0        0       10      2
## In play, run(s)            0        1        0      0
## Swinging Strike            2        2        3      0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##                  Changeup Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Flyout                  0        0        4      0
## Grounded Into DP        0        0        2      0
## Groundout               0        0        2      2
## Home Run                0        1        0      0
## Lineout                 0        0        1      0
## Pop Out                 0        0        1      0
## Single                  0        0        4      0
## Strikeout               2        2        3      0
## Walk                    0        0        2      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   43.62         56.38     28.38     41.27

Note: Zone % is the number of pitches thrown that were considered in the strike zone; Out of Zone is the number of pitches thrown out of the strike zone; and O-Swing % and Z-Swing % relate to those pitches out of the zone and in the zone that were swung at by batters.

Calculations: I calculated the strike zone based upon the formula provided by Mike Fast in a post for Baseball Prospectus. O-Swing % = Swings at Pitches Out of the Zone / Total Pitches Out of the Zone, and Z-Swing % = Swings at Pitches In the Zone / Total Pitches In the Zone. Fangraphs has a great explanation regarding plate discipline, and I encourage you to read about it if you get a chance. After enjoying my site first, of course.

Pitch Types by Zone Location

##  Pitch Type In Zone Out of Zone O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##    Changeup       3           3     0.667     0.333
##    Fourseam       8          11      0.00     0.500
##    Two-seam      27          31     0.355     0.444
##      Slider       3           8     0.375     0.333

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Changeup Fourseam Two-seam
## Called Strike          1        1        2
## Foul Tip               0        1        0
## Swinging Strike        1        0        1

Strikeouts by Batter

##       Batter Name Strikeout(s)
##  Andrew  McCutchen            1
##     Chris  Stewart            1
##         J.A.  Happ            2
##       Jungho Kang            1
##     Pedro  Alvarez            1
##   Travis  Ishikawa            1

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 80.7 82.3 83.5   -7.355     3.962       -7.155         2.487
##    Fourseam 88.9 91.2 93.4   -3.064     8.041       -2.820         6.826
##    Two-seam 84.1 87.2 89.9   -8.412     3.755       -8.296         2.413
##      Slider 80.4 81.9 84.9    2.256    0.5464        2.889       -0.8050

Note: Horizontal movement denotes average distance, in inches, from point of release to home plate (+ moves away from a right-handed batter) while vertical movement is average distance, in inches, from release point to home plate. As measured from the back point of home plate, the x-axis (horizontal) runs to the catcher’s right, the y-axis points at the pitcher, and the z-axis (vertical) runs upward.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois nd account for the elimination of both gravity and drag. The corrected averages more accurately reflect the true movement of the baseball.

Average (MPH) Velocity for Pitches by Starters Last Night:

2015-08-15_Bartolo Colon_BoxPlot

Below are the pitch locations by both batter stance (left or right) and by pitch type.

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-15_Bartolo Colon_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-15_Bartolo Colon_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-15_Bartolo Colon_Batters

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