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Sep 01

Bartolo Colon: About Last Night (August 31)

Starting a game, appearing in relief. It doesn’t matter anymore. Bartolo Colon (12-11) doesn’t allow runs. After making a one-inning relief appearance against Boston on Saturday, his first such appearance since 2011, Colon returned to start on Monday night and pitched eight scoreless innings against a Phillies team he’d shut out for seven innings in his last start. Over the weekend we saw some extremely impressive starting pitching by the Mets, but Colon’s start on Monday topped them all.

The 42-year old still has a few things to show these guys.

In his last start against Philadelphia, Colon used his changeup to confuse the Phillies hitters, and on Monday night he returned to his fastball dominant, sprinkled with the occasional slider approach that he has relied upon throughout the season. And why not? His two-seamer had so much movement it might as well used subway tokens. In my last post about Colon I referred to those pitches as butterfly pitches, and sometimes when I watched Colon last night I thought I hadn’t seen a pitch move like that since Greg Maddux. He struck out Cesar Hernandez looking in the first on a pitch that moved like a 90-mph R.A. Dickey knuckleball. You don’t swing at a pitch like that. You admire its trajectory.

I haven’t a clue who will win the Gold Glove this year for pitching. If the voters love familiarity they’ll go with Zack Greinke like they did last year. Colon made a credible case to be included in that discussion last night. Colon cleanly fielded four comebackers last night, and another Hernandez grounder glanced off his glove in the fourth. Come to think of it, anyone playing the infield last night needed to stay ready at all times. There were pretty good odds that a ground ball was coming their way. Much like Noah Syndergaard’s outing on Sunday, Colon recorded 12 of his outs via the groundball.

Remember all those problems fielding the ball? These last two games provided plenty of extra practice. Of the 24 outs Colon recorded Monday night, half were via the groundball, nine were by strikeout, and there were three fly balls. Those are the kinds of outcomes that lead to low scoring games no matter where he pitches.

One thing I found particularly interesting last night was Colon and Travis d’Arnaud using every inch of usable strike zone and then expanding it out. In the first inning David Herrera chased a two-seamer that might have beaned a batter hitting righty (not quite, but it would have left an uncomfortable feeling in a place you don’t want one), and in the seventh Colon went away to Jeff Francoeur three straight times, getting him to chase on the last two after barely missing with the first one. He didn’t throw a single one of those fastballs for a strike. Colon allowed Francoeur to reinterpret the strike zone for him.

It’s not a stretch to say Colon is pitching the best he has all season. Whether it’s because he’s facing the Phillies or because he has a real feel for his pitches, Colon has now thrown 16 straight scoreless innings. He’s hitting his spots. He’s not missing up. He’s striking out a season high nine batters last night.

Who’s ready for a little competition for the strikeout crown, eh Clayton Kershaw?

On the night, Colon pitched eight innings and didn’t allow a single run. It’s true. Look it up. 16 straight scoreless innings. 16 was Dwight Gooden’s number. SI recently showed a Tom Verducci article written about Doc’s 1985 season. Bartolo Gooden. Colon allowed four hits and a walk while striking out nine.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup     8 8.00
##    Fourseam    26 26.0
##    Two-seam    53 53.0
##      Slider    13 13.0

Pitch Type by Inning

##          1 2 3 4 5  6 7 8
## Changeup 0 2 1 4 0  0 0 1
## Fourseam 5 0 4 1 3  2 6 5
## Two-seam 5 9 9 5 6 11 7 1
## Slider   1 3 0 3 3  2 0 1

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                   2        7       17      1
## Called Strike          0       10       14      1
## Foul                   2        5        8      2
## Foul Bunt              1        0        0      0
## In play, no out        1        0        1      2
## In play, out(s)        1        1        7      5
## Swinging Strike        1        3        6      2

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##                  Changeup Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Flyout                  0        0        1      2
## Forceout                0        0        1      0
## Grounded Into DP        0        0        1      0
## Groundout               1        1        4      3
## Single                  1        0        1      2
## Strikeout               0        3        6      0
## Walk                    0        1        0      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##     57.         43.00     30.23     59.65

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           5     0.600     0.667
##    Fourseam      18           8     0.125     0.444
##    Two-seam      28          25     0.240     0.571
##      Slider       8           5     0.600      1.00

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Fourseam Two-seam
## Called Strike          2        2
## Swinging Strike        1        4

Standard Batting Lines Against Bartolo Colon

##           Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##    Aaron  Altherr  3  3 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10
##    Andres  Blanco  3  3 1  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      12
##     Cameron  Rupp  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      12
##  Cesar  Hernandez  3  3 1  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      10
##    David Herrera  4  4 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      12
##    Domonic  Brown  1  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       3
##    Freddy  Galvis  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333       9
##   Jeff  Francoeur  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10
##   Jerad  Eickhoff  2  2 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500       5
##      Ryan  Howard  3  2 0  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.000 0.333 0.000      17
## 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 80.3 81.9 83.1   -7.574     2.837       -7.401         1.467
##    Fourseam 88.7 91.5 93.4   -3.916     7.737       -3.926         6.547
##    Two-seam 84.8 88.2 91.0   -8.474     3.185       -8.325         2.026
##      Slider 80.3 82.4 85.1    1.490  -0.04769        1.854        -1.204

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:

2015-09-01_Bartolo Colon_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-09-01_Bartolo Colon_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-09-01_Bartolo Colon_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-09-01_Bartolo Colon_Batters

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