Issue: The Colon conundrum
Analysis: It wasn’t all that long ago that the East Bay’s baseball fans were raving about Bartolo Colon, who’d just put together one of the most impressive pitching performances you’ll ever see — eight shutout innings at the Los Angeles Angels, highlighted by a ludicrous streak of 38 consecutive strikes.
Nobody’s raving about Colon now. In fact, there’s grave concern in Oakland. The big fella, in the wake of getting peppered for 12 hits Tuesday night in Anaheim, has allowed 43 hits over his past five starts, and he’s allowed more hits overall than any pitcher in the American League.
Suddenly Colon, who was signed to provide stability for the Elephants’ young rotation, is the least stable member of the staff.
His velocity has gotten quite a bit of attention of late, it having dropped from his standard 90-92 reading on the radar gun to as low as 83 a couple of outings ago.
Velocity, though, isn’t Colon’s biggest problem. It’s the sudden disappearance of movement on his two-seam fastball. It’s what’s made him so effective for so long.
There’s another big problem, though, too. His gut.
It’s grotesque, and if Colon doesn’t get a handle on it, he’ll be off the roster by mid-July.
Granted, plenty of pitchers have proven you don’t have to be Jack LaLanne to succeed on the mound in the majors. But is it not common sense to assume that a 38-year-old man pushing 275 to 300 pounds, engaged in a world-class athletic endeavor, is going to wear down and suffer from lack of production sooner rather than later?
Velocity is overrated. Movement can be restored. Being out of shape in the realm of Roseanne Barr at her biggest is flat-out irresponsible.