Bartolo Colon was not supposed to be in the rotation of the New York Mets at this juncture of the season. The 43-year old righthander was expected to be regulated to the bullpen but Zach Wheeler had his setbacks and Matt Harvey was shut down.
Yoeneis Cespedes is supposed to be in the Mets lineup, but his injured quad got worse and is on the 15-day disabled list. So with the Cespedes drama over, and with his manager Terry Collins being testy pregame about a golf game not being a reason Cespedes is disabled, the Mets moved on.
And they got a win Thursday night at Yankee Stadium because Colon was at his best this season in leading the Mets to a 4-1 win and four-game split with the Yankees.
Colon has no nagging injuries. He throws the ball and gets the job done, and not like Cespedes, who the manager said was disabled because of a nagging injury and not a golf game, has a one-year deal. A pitcher the Mets continue to rely upon as they moved to within a game of the second wild card in the National League, has no nagging injuries.
Though Collins and the GM Sandy Alderson put the golf issue of Cespedes to rest, that still lingers because he was supposed to supplement newly acquired Jay Bruce in the lineup, that needed boost for an offense that has trouble scoring runs.
Bruce may have to wait for Cespedes, but for how long? There is no timetable as to when this quad issue will go away, but as long as Cespedes stays away from a golf course the quad should get better and the Mets can try and salvage some type of postseason spot.
Bruce and Colon quickly put that Cespedes injury to rest with the night they had in the Bronx. The veteran Colon was at his best Thursday night and tossed 6.2 innings on six hits and a run.
“He doesn’t quite throw as hard as when we had him,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He was probably 92-93, He gets up to 91 now. But it’s still the same guy. He’s been doing it for a long time . It’s impressive what he does at 43 years old. He’s just got incredible control with really good movement.”
Collins with a needed win was quick to praise Bruce. A few days ago he was anxious to see the duo of Cespedes and Bruce in the lineup, now it is just Bruce who got that monkey off his back and showed why he is top run producer in the National League.
“Was good to make an impact that way,” said Bruce. “Think the whole team is about to pick up the slack. I told some guys it felt like my first major league homer running around the bases.”
Said Collins, “That’s what he can do. I think it’s big for everybody.” Yeah, everybody but Cespedes who was not seen at the ballpark in the Bronx and was probably told by management to stay away and get the needed rest for the quad.
And that means rest and not playing 18-holes of golf. And so for the moment this chapter of the Mets season of injuries was laid to rest. Collins alluded again about not seeing so many injuries hit a team in all the years he has been involved in the game of baseball.
As for Colon, he is what a team needs to silence the controversy. He does that by taking the mound and throwing the ball with ease. The unexpected starter that is still in the rotation never fails to disappoint his manager or the guys in the clubhouse.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Colon became the first pitcher to record a win with each team in the Subway Series and improved to 6-3 on the road in 11 games.
“He brings that consistency,” Kelly Johnson said. “Johnson hit his fifth home run of the season in the fifth inning to account for the first Mets run of the evening.
Added Collins,“He had his best stuff of the whole year.” Colon improved to 10-6 with a 3,46 ERA. His lone strikeout came in the first inning on a fastball that got Brett Gardner looking. But it was that Colon remark about not having to face the almost disposed Alex Rodriguez, who has success against the veteran pitcher with eight-home runs and a .442 average at the plate.
Rodriguez once again was not in the Yankees lineup and is four home runs shy of the 700 mark. It was a Pedro Martinez flashback moment from Bartolo Colon that broke the tension and controversy of a Cespedes moment that added to the drama of this Subway Series.
“I always said, that’s my Dad,” Colon said through an interpreter about not facing A-Rod. It got a laugh and it was needed.
The Mets have moved on without Cespedes for the time being. But, having Bartolo Colon is someone they value and may want to keep no matter how long he wants to stay in New York.
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