Mancuso: Colon Deserved A Better Result

Bartolo Colon certainly deserved better Wednesday night at Citi Field and for 6-⅓ innings there was more of a reason to see why New York Mets manager Terry Collins would consider putting the righthander in the postseason rotation. But first the Mets need to clinch the National League East and that should happen maybe as soon as this weekend in Cincinnati.

Colon did not  get his 15th win, and the Mets could only reduce their magic number to five because the Washington Nationals lost again. The number could have dwindled to four, but the Mets also failed to get a win. The Atlanta Braves took two of three at Citi Field, as the Marlins did last week and both teams played the role of spoiler.

Colon held the Braves without a baserunner until  two outs in the fifth inning. Then in the seventh the 42-year old veteran gave up consecutive singles. Another one followed and his night was done, but don’t blame Colon for the magic number not getting to four. The Mets bullpen failed again,and the offense did not have that comeback that was so often the situation last month.

Colon was not available to comment as the Mets packed their bags and headed to Cincinnati and Philadelphia, and in one of those ballparks the division should be clinched. And when the NL East crown becomes official, Collins can start the plan for a postseason rotation and pitching staff.

The Manager is not thinking now about that rotation and pitching staff for an eventual first round and best of five divisional series.  First the Mets have to get over the wall and take care of business, and that means winning as many as they can in their final 10-games and after a 3-6 homestand one wonders where has the momentum gone?

Don’t blame Colon. He allowed three earned runs and in his last 11-games is 5-2 with a 2.74 ERA, and he was seeking a 15th win for a third straight year. Not bad for a pitcher who had command of his fastball and the changeup.

So is Terry Collins considering Colon in the postseason plan? Right now the manager has other issues to address, and Collins would only say that Colon had one start remaining and that will come in one of the games against the Phillies next week. For now, the Mets have to get their bats going again and that remains more of an issue than looking at Colon as a deserving postseason pitcher. With the exception of David Wright, who tied the game in the seventh inning with a two-out single and the three hits from Ruben Tejada, the offense had no punch.

But the emphasis should be on Colon. He has rebounded from a mid-season pitching crisis and had a career high 31.0 scoreless innings streak from August 26-September 10, the longest within one season in major league history by a pitcher 42 or older, and it was the third longest in team history.

“Tremendous,” said Collins about Colon’s outing. “I did not see many good swings the entire night.”

As to what the plan could be for Colon after his last start, Collins added, “I haven’t looked there, investigated it… haven’t talked to anybody.We got business to tend to first. He has one start left and I need him to pitch as well as he did tonight in that start.”

More of a concern should be the Mets pen that contributed to losing six of their last nine games in this latest September stretch. Jeurys Familia was the main culprit when he allowed a three-run homer to Freddie Freeman in the ninth inning, though it was only the first home run he allowed since July 30 along with his first earned runs since that time.

Colon can’t be blamed for this loss, rather the lack of runs behind him made him look like the culprit of losing to a Braves team that played the role of a spoiler. And Freeman. with five runs batted in, continued to be a spoiler to the Mets. Since 2012, Freeman has 15 home runs against the Mets and 61 RBI.

Freeman came in the game in the seventh inning, so Colon never got a chance against him. By then, the Mets were behind and once again they could not get the come from behind win they were so good at last month.

“We’re not giving our pitchers much room for error,” said Wright. “Ultimately we’d like to play better and have that magic number shrink because we’re winning and have it shrink because they’re, (Nationals) losing,”

As for Bartolo Colon, he has done enough to prove his value and when the times comes Collins has to make that decision with the eventual postseason rotation.But first, the Mets have to take care of business winning these final two series on the road and wrap up the division.

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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