(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)
Entering the season, many Yankee fans probably anticipated that Bartolo Colon would have his fair share of blowups. However, after such a strong first half, his effort in the Yankees’ 16-7 loss to the Blue Jays was more than just a little disconcerting. Expectations for Colon have certainly shifted over the course of the year, but now the team has to hope they aren’t about to spring back.
Not only did Colon turn in the shortest outing of his career, but it was only the fourth time since 1919 that a Yankees’ starter surrendered eight or more runs in less than one inning. Over his last two starts, Colon has allowed 13 runs (eight earned) in only 6 1/3 innings, which has to make you wonder if the right hander’s Cinderella story is coming to an end.
Yankees’ Starters Who Have Allowed Eight-Plus Runs in Less than One Inning, Since 1919
|Orlando Hernandez||6/18/00||CHW||L 4-17||0.2||6||9||9||3||49||2|
|Bartolo Colon||7/14/11||TOR||L 7-16||0.2||6||8||3||2||42||16|
|Andy Hawkins||9/26/89||BOS||L 5-9||0.1||5||8||8||3||44||6|
|Allen Russell||7/5/19||WSH||L 5-11||0.2||6||8||3||0||NA||18|
Even though Colon’s final line was ugly, he didn’t really pitch that poorly in last night’s game. Included among his six hits allowed were two infield singles, a fly ball lost in the lights, and two seeing-eye grounders that found their way to the outfield. He was also the victim of another Eduardo Nunez error (although, pitching around a Nunez error has become a requirement for Yankee pitchers). With any luck, Colon could have escaped the inning without allowing a run, but as things turned out, he wound up having the earliest shower of his career.
The greater concern from last night’s outing was the tentative manner in which Colon moved around the infield. Not only did he gingerly cover first base on Adam Lind’s groundout, but he was also slow to field the two infield singles later in the inning. After the game, Colon admitted to being preoccupied by his left hamstring, which forced him to miss three weeks in June. Joe Girardi also expressed concern about his pitcher’s lack of mobility, so it could very well be that Colon is still suffering from some lingering effects.
Note: May 2 data not available.
Since Colon first injured his hamstring on June 11, the radar gun readings on his four-seam and two-seam fastball have gradually declined. Because so much of his first half success was based upon velocity, this trend can’t be taken lightly. What’s more, in an a post at TYA, Larry Koestler illustrated that Colon has also had less break on all of his pitches. Regardless of the reason (a lingering injury, normal fatigue, or rust from inactivity), the Yankees need to figure out if Colon is going to remain a viable starter over the second half. Otherwise, it may impact the urgency with which Brian Cashman pursues another pitcher.
Colon is scheduled for three more starts before the July 31 trade deadline, which doesn’t give the Yankees much time to figure out whether his recent struggles are just a blip or a sign of danger ahead. Ironically, Colon was only supposed to be a placeholder until July, but now the Yankees seem dependent upon his continued success in August and September. Cashman’s gamble has paid off so far, but is he willing to keep rolling the dice?