Hey, remember Bartolo Colon? Sure you do. He used to pitch for the Indians from 1997 until midway through the 2002 season. And a good pitcher he was, too, going 75-45 as an Indian with an ERA+ of 121. Just before the All-Star break in 2002, the Indians front office realized that A) the team wasn’t going to contend that year (which turned out to be accurate; the Indians went 74-88, finishing third in the AL Central, a mere 20.5 games behind the first-place Twins), and B) Colon was going to be a free agent in 2003, and that he was going to wind up playing for some other team, so they traded him to the Montreal Expos.
Colon went on to win the Cy Young award in 2005 with the Angels. A series of injuries and personal problems have plagued Colon ever since, and he’s never really been the pitcher he used to be, having played for a different major league team in each of the past five seasons. Never a slender man, Colon is reported to weigh 270 pounds, which is not exactly commonplace, nor considered optimal, for a ballplayer, even one who stands five feet eleven inches tall. Colon is also 39 years old, an age at which most major league pitchers are ex-major league pitchers.
So given the season the Indians have been having this year, it only stood to reason that Colon, who is old and fat, would have no trouble whatsoever with setting down the Indians lineup. And this turned out to be so, as Colon went eight innings in Oakland on Saturday, limiting the Indians to one run on five hits. Colon retired the side without allowing a baserunner in five of his eight innings. His only mistake came in the seventh, when he gave up a two-out solo home run to Carlos Santana. Colon left the game in the eighth inning with the A’s ahead, 6-1. Colon pitched a fine game, and props to him for doing so.
Although he got tagged with the loss, Indians starter Corey Kluber didn’t get clobbered this time. He gave up four runs, all unearned, in five innings. Kluber entered the game with a first-inning ERA of 30.0 on the season. Granted, that was based on a small sample size, but it’s clear the guy has had some issues with giving up runs early in the game. So it was gratifying to see him pitch a scoreless first inning, and a scoreless second inning, and a scoreless third inning. But he ran into trouble in the fourth, when the A’s scored four runs on an infield error, a walk, a double, and a home run. Since Kluber would have gotten out of the inning unscathed had the error not been made, all four runs were unearned. But: a walk, a double, and a home run. Not good.
As has so often been the case in recent weeks, the Indians relief pitching brought no relief whatsoever, as Frank Herrmann, Cody Allen, and Chris Seddon combined to give up four runs in the final three innings. The Indians entered the ninth inning down 8-1. With Colon out of the game, the Indians offense finally came alive. Shin-Soo Choo and pinch-hitter Brent Lillibridge both hit two-run homers to add a little interest to the game, but the rally fell short, and the Indians lost 8-5.
The Indians have now lost 17 of their last 21 games. Had you told me in May that in August, I would have to write that sentence, I would not have believed it, and if there were a way to show me that indeed it would be so, I would have been livid with rage. But now I am so used to watching this team lose that it hardly fazes me. I still watch the games on television, and I still want the Indians to win, but when they fail to do so, I can barely muster the energy to swear at the TV set. But this is how it has to be, I suppose, when you are a Cleveland Indians fan.
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