Instead of calling Bartolo Colon “Big Sexy,” he should change his nickname to “Big Game Sexy.”
Even though, the Mets came into this season with their big four starters, it was the 43 year-old who has been their ace all season.
When the chips are down “Big Game Sexy” comes up large.
“When we came out of Spring Training we were saying if this guy gets us through June, when Zack Wheeler is ready, he would have done a heck of a job,” said manager Terry Collins. “Not only has he gotten us through June, he is pitching as good if not as good as anybody. He had a blip or two, but we all do, but he’s been the steady guy.”
After tonight’s 3-1 win in the second game of the doubleheader over the Cardinals, Colon improved his record to 9-5 with a 3.35 ERA.
More importantly, though, it’s not the quality of the pitching, but the timing of his big performances.
Tonight he had to come through big. The Cardinals were playing with house money after shutting down Noah Syndergaard behind the excellent pitching of Carlos Martinez. The Mets needed to hold serve in their twin-bill and Colon had to keep the Redbirds at bay.
A loss and the Mets would have lost two games in the standing and behind the Cards for the last wild card. This was something that could not happen.
Talk about a pressure cooker. It made Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s weekend look like a vacation.
No sweat. Like he always does, Colon went out and just threw strikes with his friend the two-seamer. Staying away from the St. Louis batters, he was able to make them go after his pitches through his economical seven innings, where he threw 87 pitches, which will allow Collins to bring him back on three-days rest on Saturday.
“He is a unique. He’s different. Where would you find a guy – maybe a knuckleballer – who is 43 years-old, who would come back on three days?” Collins said. “I told him, ‘We need you to come back on Saturday.’ And he said, ‘OK, I will be ready.’ He’s a special guy and we are lucky to have him in the rotation right now.”
Look, Matt Harvey is out for the year, while both Steven Matz and Syndergaard are pitching with bone chips in the elbows. Jacob deGrom is still Jacob deGrom, but you have to ask yourself where the Mets would be without Colon.
They certainly wouldn’t be in this race, that’s for sure. Now the Mets can try to go for the series win tomorrow with the Rockies coming in this weekend.
Collins said he could be wrong. Colon could come back and get hit on three-days’ rest. But given the choices between pitching Syndergaard on short rest, calling someone up from the minors or going with “Big Game Sexy,” who would you choose?
After losing Harvey, the Mets may have looked for another starter, but with Colon continuing to defy the odds, they are not going to need one.
They have their guy.
“Big Game Sexy” is keeping the Mets in this race.