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Aug 22

Bartolo Colon: About Last Night (August 21)

It’s difficult to know how much getting beaned just below his pitching hand in the second inning bothered Bartolo Colon. He wasn’t exactly sharp in the first when he allowed Carlos Gonzalez’s 29th home run on the season, so anything after the second—otherwise known as the additional seven hits and six runs allowed—might have been because of that gigantic welt growing on his forearm or because all of his pitches were elevated.

These aren’t excuses. The Colon from last week’s start against the Pirates missed the flight out to Denver for this game. Friday night’s Colon grooved way too many pitches, challenging more batters up than I can ever remember seeing this season. Maybe I was just looking for pitches in those locations, however. “For all that is good about baseball, keep the ball down,” I willed Colon through the television.

There obviously was a failure to communicate.

What can be said, really? He allowed home runs to Gonzalez, Ben Paulsen (a sweet opposite field shot in the second), and Nolan Arenado crushed a three run homer in the fourth that all but confirmed how soul-crushing Coors Field can be on the uninitiated who get overexcited by a 7-1 lead. On a night that Yoenis Cespedes goes 5-for-6 with a double and three home runs, one of which is a grand slam, drives in seven and scores five, the Mets light up the scoreboard for 14 runs and needed almost all of them.

So, yeah, Daniel Murphy’s RBI single to make it 3-1 in the second made me feel all smiles and happiness, but I wasn’t comfortable until hours later when I snuggled up in my bed. Even then I had nightmares of baseballs hurtling towards the stands. These next eight games won’t help the starters’ ERA any. Two more against Colorado. Four at Philadelphia. Three back home against the suddenly red hot Red Sox.

Keep the ball down Bartolo.

In fairness to Colon, his defense didn’t make all the plays for him either. Wilmer Flores made an error on a throw to second trying to force Nick Hundley in the second. If Flores makes that play, Colon has a runner at first with two outs and the pitcher Christian Begman coming up to bat. No runs were scored, but I’m sure Colon would have enjoyed heading back to the bench to receive another ice treatment. Kelly Johnson failed to field DJ LeMahieu’s grounder in the third with two outs. Arenado scored, Colon then walked Hundley on seven additional pitches, and the inning finally ended after a Brandon Barnes strikeout.

That was the one time Colon elevated a pitch that seemed to work.

Things got so bad that Colon essentially relied upon his slider to help get him out of trouble. In his last start against Pittsburgh I noticed that he’s started to throw it a little more, but last night he threw it over 20% of the time and he threw it seven times in both the third and fourth. You could almost see him plead with Hundley to chase one of those pitches. “Just swing. Seriously, just swing. You know you want to. Jerk.”

Maybe this wasn’t an outing on par with Mike Fiers no-hitter last night. We could fret and worry that Colon is a liability for the Mets as they push towards the playoffs. Those are concerns. I like to think that any win in Colorado is a good win no matter how many runs you allow. If your main arsenal is based upon location and throwing lots of fastballs, then elevating your pitches is going to end badly.

So it goes.

On the night Colon tossed 3 2/3 innings and allowed seven earned runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out one. He’s walked two batters in back-to-back games for only the second time this season, and he’s walked two or more in only six of his starts. His ERA is now 4.90, but FIP is 4.06 so there’s that.

That HR/FB rate is now sitting at 11.7%, though. That’s bad enough, but his fly ball percentage is 39.2%. Yeah, Colorado isn’t the place for him.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup     5 6.76
##    Fourseam    27 36.5
##    Two-seam    27 36.5
##      Slider    15 20.3

Pitch Type by Inning

##          1 2  3 4
## Changeup 1 2  2 0
## Fourseam 3 7 10 7
## Two-seam 4 8 10 5
## Slider   0 1  7 7

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                   2        1       12      6
## Ball In Dirt           0        0        0      3
## Called Strike          0        4        4      3
## Foul                   1        9        1      2
## Foul Tip               0        0        1      0
## In play, no out        0        3        2      0
## In play, out(s)        1        5        3      0
## In play, run(s)        1        1        3      0
## Swinging Strike        0        4        1      1

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##             Changeup Fourseam Two-seam
## Double             0        1        1
## Field Error        0        0        1
## Flyout             0        1        0
## Groundout          0        2        2
## Home Run           1        1        1
## Lineout            0        2        0
## Pop Out            0        0        1
## Sac Bunt           1        0        0
## Single             0        2        2
## Strikeout          0        0        1
## Walk               0        1        1

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   59.46         40.54     19.73     42.05

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       2           3     0.333     0.500
##    Fourseam      21           6     0.667     0.810
##    Two-seam      15          12    0.0833     0.400
##      Slider       6           9     0.222     0.167

Strikeouts by Description

##          Two-seam
## Foul Tip        1

Standard Batting Lines Against Bartolo Colon

##             Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##        Ben  Paulsen  2  2 1  0  0  1 0  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 2.000       8
##     Brandon  Barnes  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       5
##    Carlos  Gonzalez  3  2 2  0  0  1 0  1   0  0 1.000 1.000 2.500      12
##   Charlie  Blackmon  3  3 2  1  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 1.000       9
##  Christian  Bergman  2  1 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  1 0.000 0.000 0.000       7
##        DJ  LeMahieu  2  2 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500      10
##         Jose  Reyes  3  3 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       7
##       Nick  Hundley  2  1 1  0  0  0 0  1   0  0 1.000 1.000 1.000       9
##      Nolan  Arenado  3  3 2  1  0  1 0  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 2.000       7
## Warning in rm(x): object 'x' not found

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 80.2 82.2 83.5   -7.058     6.148       -6.593         4.769
##    Fourseam 86.6 90.2 92.9   -4.292     8.172       -4.081         7.093
##    Two-seam 83.6 87.0 90.6   -7.598     5.237       -7.221         4.066
##      Slider 78.7 81.9 84.9   -1.133     4.155      -0.5260         2.692

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:

2015-08-22_Bartolo Colon_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-22_Bartolo Colon_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-22_Bartolo Colon_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-22_Bartolo Colon_Batters

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