Oakland Athletics: What Happened To Bartolo Colon's Fastball?

By Karl Buscheck
Bartolo Colon Fastball Down
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday afternoon at Great American Ballpark, Bartolo Colon of the Oakland Athletics had yet another quick outing. Just not the kind that has come to be expected of the big right-hander.

Colon lasted just 2.2 innings as he allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks as the team slumped to a 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.That marks consecutive starts in which the normally precise 40-year old has issued three walks. The poor outing also snapped a streak of 15 straight starts in which Colon has pitched at least six innings and allowed three runs or less.

Recently, Guy Haberman, who hosts the club’s pre and post-game shows on “95.7 FM The Game”, has noted a troubling trend for the All-Star right-hander. Heading into the matinee with the Reds, Colon has lost one mph off his fastball in each of his past five outings.

The trend was certainly in full effect today. Colon, who was consistently hitting 92 and 93 on the gun earlier in the season, was sitting at 86 on Wednesday. Unsurprisingly, the two-seam magician, who has cruised to a 14-4 record slinging just a single pitch, got smacked around.

Colon did hit 91 in the second, but Jay Bruce absolutely mashed a home run into the seats in right-field later that inning. So, clearly the two-seamer was less than crisp. There’s also a bit of luck involved in all this.

Corky Miller tagged Colon for a pair of RBI-doubles and before today, the backup catcher had five hits on the season. Aside from 13 games with the Reds this season, Miller hadn’t appeared in the big leagues since 2010.

Maybe things will turn around for the veteran right-hander. The question remains, though: what happened to Colon’s fastball?

Based on his Biogenesis links, the involvement of performances enhancers can’t be ruled out. Then again, the decline could just be a 40-year-old tiring as a very long season wears on. Either way, with a very young rotation, the club will need to get the burly right-hander back on track one way or another.

Karl Buscheck is an Oakland Athletics writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @KarlBuscheck and add him to your network on Google+.

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