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Aug 27

Bartolo Colon: About Last Night (August 26)

Bartolo Colon (11-11) had so much movement on his fastball last night that I swear I thought the fastball he started Cody Asche off with in the second got caught in the wind. Colon flicked it up there, and the ball danced and floated and traveled in its good time towards the right-handed batter’s box. It was a strange thing to see. I wonder if Asche was wondering just what the heck kind of pitch could move like that.

Asche promptly flied out to left on a fastball down and in. Maybe he was happy to swing at a pitch that wasn’t possessed.

The big talk coming into this game was whether Colon was going to be able to pitch. His forearm was still battered and bruised from being hit in his last start, and if he wasn’t able to pitch what would the Mets do. Also, there was the concern about what would happen if Colon didn’t pitch well, and the Mets needed to go to the bullpen. They probably wouldn’t have Sean Gilmartin or Hansel Robles to pitch on Wednesday, and Logan Verrett shouldn’t pitch, but there was a possibility he’d appear.

Maybe you missed it, but Logan Verrett pitched eight innings on Sunday and was expected to relieve Colon if he couldn’t make it. I don’t know how that makes sense or is good for Verrett’s long term ability to use his right arm when he’s old, gray, and nodding by the fire but this is what the SNY crew discussed over the last few days. After the team used the bullpen heavily the last two nights a rough outing by Colon would likely lead to a declaration of independence by the bullpen for unreasonable taxation.

Oh, American history you serve me well in Philadelphia!

Colon sort of eased all of those concerns by pitching arguably his finest outing of the season. If we go by Game Score this one doesn’t match Colon’s start against the Cubs on July 1st, but the Mets lost that game 2-0. We’ll go by most pleasing results and the aesthetics of butterfly pitches. I choose last night.

For strategy, it was your typical Colon start. He abandoned the slider heavy approach that he adopted in Colorado simply because last night every pitch elevated into the air didn’t turn into rocket ships and launch into orbit. In that case, there were lots of fastballs, constant change of locations with a heavy emphasis on keeping the ball down, and mixing in an occasional slider and offspeed to keep the batters honest. Some nights Colon has trouble keeping the ball down. Last night the pitches went mostly where Colon wanted them. He struck out eight, and how he did so was interesting.

He got Domonic Brown twice with fastballs up, Darnell Sweeney and Odubel Herrera with two-seamers that ran back over the inside corner, Herrera with a changeup, and Freddy Galvis with a hard breaking slider in the dirt.

It was like a mixed Scrabble bag of K’s.

The only really hard hit ball off Colon I recall was Andres Blanco’s double in the fourth. As an aside, it’s awesome that they show the scores for the minor league games at Citizens Bank Park. On Blanco’s double I notice they have the score for the Hagerstown Suns and Lakewood BlueClaws game. Colon promptly retaliated by floating a slider into Asche’s knee six pitches later.

No, I don’t think that was retaliation for Larry Bowa complaining about quick pitches and bat flips.

Colon allowed five hits last night, and if you think that three of those came in the first (oh no, I worried. Not Coors Field all over again.) and another in the second, Colon mostly cruised through his seven innings of work. He worked with runners on for the most part, but it never seemed like the Phillies ever threatened to score except for perhaps the first and the fourth after Blanco’s one out double.

On the night, Colon finished with seven innings pitches, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out eight. His K/9 rate of 6.75 is the highest it’s been since 2011 with the Yankees, and his BB/9 rate of 1.18 is a career low. I won’t discuss the extraordinarily high BABIP or HR/9 rate. Those numbers don’t exist.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    15 14.0
##    Fourseam    32 29.9
##    Two-seam    46  43.
##      Slider    14 13.1

Pitch Type by Inning

##          1 2 3  4 5 6 7
## Changeup 2 0 3  1 6 1 2
## Fourseam 8 2 4 10 2 3 3
## Two-seam 9 6 6  8 7 4 6
## Slider   0 1 3  4 1 4 1

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                             2       11       13      4
## Ball In Dirt                     0        0        1      0
## Called Strike                    3        5       12      3
## Foul                             4       10       10      2
## Foul Tip                         0        1        0      0
## Hit By Pitch                     0        0        0      1
## In play, no out                  0        1        3      1
## In play, out(s)                  3        2        5      2
## Swinging Strike                  3        2        2      0
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0        0        0      1

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##                  Changeup Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Double                  0        0        1      0
## Flyout                  1        1        2      1
## Forceout                1        0        0      0
## Grounded Into DP        0        0        1      0
## Groundout               1        1        1      1
## Hit By Pitch            0        0        0      1
## Lineout                 0        0        1      0
## Single                  0        1        2      1
## Strikeout               1        2        4      1
## Walk                    0        2        0      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   52.34         47.66     31.47     68.79

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       7           8     0.750     0.571
##    Fourseam      18          14     0.214     0.667
##    Two-seam      25          21     0.190     0.640
##      Slider       6           8     0.250     0.667

Strikeouts by Description

##                           Changeup Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Called Strike                    0        0        3      0
## Foul Tip                         0        1        0      0
## Swinging Strike                  1        1        1      0
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0        0        0      1

Standard Batting Lines Against Bartolo Colon

##           Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##    Andres  Blanco  3  2 1  1  0  0 0  1   0  0 0.500 0.667 1.000      13
##     Cameron  Rupp  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      12
##       Cody  Asche  3  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   1  0 0.000 0.333 0.000       9
##        Darin  Ruf  1  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       3
##  Darnell  Sweeney  4  3 1  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.333 0.500 0.333      14
##    Odubel Herrera  3  3 1  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      15
##    Domonic  Brown  3  3 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      12
##    Freddy  Galvis  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      14
##   Jerad  Eickhoff  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       6
##      Ryan  Howard  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333       9

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max  Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 79.4 80.9 83.6    -9.693     5.971       -9.620         4.610
##    Fourseam 86.2 91.2 93.7    -6.225     10.48       -6.268         9.332
##    Two-seam 84.6 87.5 91.0    -11.26     5.963       -10.98         4.742
##      Slider 77.2 81.8 85.4 -0.007857     2.314       0.5213        0.9114

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 corner 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 up and down.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois and 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:

2015-08-27_Bartolo Colon_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-27_Bartolo Colon_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-27_Bartolo Colon_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-27_Bartolo Colon_Batters

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