It was terrifying to watch as Bartolo Colon pumped in 88 mph fastballs with Adrian Beltre taking hacks.
Looking at his line from Tuesday night’s loss to the Texas Rangers, it appears as though the veteran for the Oakland Athletics could have received a better fate. The right-hander lasted five innings and gave up four runs (just one earned). However, the decisive play came when Colon himself failed to spear a grounder off the bat of Craig Gentry.
On the night, Colon served up eight hits, and after constantly working into and out of trouble in the early innings he was lucky the Rangers didn’t tag him for more runs. Back in the middle of August right before Colon landed on the DL, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle noted that with his rapidly receding velocity and lack of movement, the right-hander was pretty much just “throwing batting practice.”
After using all his guile to navigate through a dangerous Texas lineup in the early innings, the Rangers finally caught up to Colon the third time around. Colon has now gone four straight starts without getting past the fifth inning, a stretch that dates back to the final day of July.
Before that slide, though, Colon had ripped off 15 straight starts with three runs or less. One possibility is that the Athletics simply used him too much early in the season, and now all his bullets are gone. If Colon can’t make it through the lineup three times – and that’s now becoming quite the trend – then that puts a large strain on the bullpen—expanded roster or not.
How does Brett Anderson fit into all of this?
The team thought about bringing him back as a reliever, then as a starter, then as a reliever again. Unsurprisingly, the pitcher who is an ace when he’s right physically, provides another powerful arm for manager Bob Melvin to trot out of the pen. Melvin even admitted to 95.7 FM The Game that he was “tempted” to leave the lefty in the role because of how well he has done.
The way Colon is throwing, the skipper might just be tempted to elevate Anderson to the rotation. It will be difficult to stretch him out now that he’s pitching out of the bullpen, but Melvin and pitching coach Curt Young can surely devise a creative plan.
Anderson is very rarely healthy. He is at the moment, though, and the team would be wise to utilize the left-hander as much as possible by retuning him to the rotation.