Though recent trends might indicate otherwise, aged pitchers rarely return to form after year-long layoffs.
Sure, it came against an Angels lineup whose centerpiece, Albert Pujols, has yet to get untracked, but it was difficult not to be impressed with Bartolo Colon's eight shutout innings last Wednesday. For one thing, it marked the 38-year-old Oakland righty's second consecutive scoreless start; he had tossed seven scoreless against the Mariners on April 13. For another, he reeled off a streak of 38 consecutive strikes, running from the second pitch of the fifth inning through the seventh pitch of the eighth inning, a span that included balls in play; he allowed only a single and a double during that time. Pitch-by-pitch records only go back to 1988, so there's no definitive account of whether Colon set a record, but via the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, the next-highest known total was 30 in a row by Tim Wakefield in 1998.
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Every year when the PECOTA projections come out, I like to sort through some of the statistical leader boards to see which players PECOTA likes for the upcoming year. One of my favorite categories is ERA because it gives me an idea of how well certain pitchers may do within the context of their teams. I am also on a sort of Easter egg hunt. I figure that PECOTA has data on hundreds of starting pitchers from professional baseball, and when it projects ERA (or anything else), it will find the usual CCs or Johans, but it might also like a rookie or another player that I'm not expecting as much.
While realizing the Red Sox should be favored, the Rockies also understand that they can shed their relative anonymity with just four more wins.
When the Boston Red Sox started arriving at Fenway Park, a group of fans stood outside the players' parking lot and cheered each time someone else pulled in. This, mind you, was on Tuesday morning before a light workout with Game One of the World Series against the Colorado Rockies, set for Wednesday night, still 34 hours away.
Jeff Francis sums up the improbability of Colorado's pennant, the Yankees and Angels search for new leaders, and Dusty settles into the Queen City.
Jeff Francis searched for the proper word to describe the Colorado Rockies' incredible streak that has carried them to their first-ever World Series appearance. Colorado has won 21 of its last 22 games. "Unbelievable? Unfathomable?" the Rockies left-hander asked. "Ridiculous is a word I've been throwing out there a lot lately. Yeah, ridiculous might sum it up."