Bartolo Colon is on a roll. Both with his arm and his bat.
Colon is now 6-0 with a 1.58 ERA in his last seven starts. His run of seven straight starts allowing two earned runs or fewer matches the longest streak of his career.
What’s led to this turnaround?
We basically split Colon’s season in half and compared the good times and the bad times.
Not so fast
Colon has pulled back a little bit on throwing fastballs in favor of a slider that has had some nastiness to it.
Colon threw 87 percent fastballs in his first eight starts of the season, a rate comparable to what he threw with the Athletics last season. He’s dropped that to 77 percent over these last seven starts.
The secondary pitch has been an effective one. He’s thrown it for strikes 63 percent of the time. Opponents have made 25 outs and netted only four baserunners (two hits, two walks) against it.
Colon has gotten ground balls at a much higher rate of late (as noted in the chart at right) and in turn, the Mets are doing a much better job of fielding them.
Bartolo Colon -- 2014 Season
Of the 63 hitters to hit a grounder against Colon in his first eight starts, 27 reached base safely via hit or error.
Of the 69 to hit a grounder against him in his last seven starts, 16 have reached safely.
Colon has retired each of the last 30 hitters against whom he’s reached a two-strike count, including 18 Athletics hitters on Tuesday.
Opponents were hitting .214 (21-for-98) and slugging .337 with three home runs with two strikes against Colon in his first eight starts.
They’re hitting .092 (9-for-98) with a .133 slugging percentage and one home run since.
And let’s not forget
It’s easy to joke about Colon’s hitting abilities, but he’s brought something to the table with them in these last two games.
In his first 13 starts this season, Colon had no hits, and only successfully advanced a baserunner once in six opportunities to do so.
In his last two starts, Colon has either gotten a hit or advanced a baserunner in each of his six plate appearances (two hits, three bunts, and a ground out).