Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but there was nothing sexy about Bartolo Colon’s performance on Monday night — specifically in the first inning, which was basically when the game was decided as the Astros ended up cruising to victory.
The first inning of this game went about as bad as you could imagine for the Braves. Charlie Morton made quick work of the top three batters in Atlanta’s lineup, and then the top of Houston’s lineup feasted on a diet of fastballs from Colon. Jose Altuve brought in the first run of the game with an RBI single, and then Carlos Correa broke the game open with a moonshot of a three-run homer to the batter’s eye in dead center that made it 4-0. As if that wasn’t enough (in what has to be the oldest batter-vs-pitcher matchup that we will see this year), Carlos Beltran went deep on Bartolo on the very next-at bat and that made it 5-0 Astros.
To Colon’s credit, he did a good job of putting that utter disaster of an inning behind him, because the next 14 Astros hitters came and went without a hit, and only one of those batters reached base. However, the next hit that Colon did give up ended up going over the fence, as Josh Reddick hit a solo homer in the fifth inning that made it 6-0.
The Braves’ bats finally woke up in the next frame, which is when they finally figured out Charlie Morton after the veteran pitcher threw five scoreless frames before then. Carlos Correa failed to record an out when two grounders were hit at him, and Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis cashed in both of those runners with RBI singles of their own. Dansby Swanson later took advantage of a fatigued Morton by forcing a bases-loaded walk to make it 6-3 at the time. Danny Santana failed to add on with the bases loaded, and the inning ended there.
Atlanta’s brief moment of being within striking distance of Houston was just that — brief. Colon returned to the mound for the sixth inning, but he wouldn’t make it out of that frame after Carlos Beltran led it off with a double and then Alex Bregman just barely got a fly ball past Ender Inciarte to bring in Houston’s seventh run of the game. Sam Freeman came in for relief and promptly gave up a single to Nori Aoki to make it 8-3 Houston. Freeman did stay in and eat a couple of innings, so I’m sure the rest of the bullpen was thankful for that.
Meanwhile, it’s time to start seriously worrying about Bartolo Colon and whether or not Father Time has finally caught up with Big Sexy. This was his third consecutive poor start, and the fourth time in seven starts that he’s gotten rocked by the opposition The only good thing about this start was that he did manage to make it into the sixth inning and almost got out of that inning, but he had still given up six runs at that point. Yes, this was coming against a loaded Astros lineup, but that’s still poor.
Granted, we weren’t expecting to see Colon perform like an ace or anything like that (maybe I was expecting some meme-able comedy), but we were at least expecting something approaching competency. Right now, a 7.22 ERA and a 5.12 FIP is not competent and it’s very concerning for the Braves as they move forward with their plans for the season.
We’ll see what happens, but for now, Colon’s string of bad performances has become a prominent issue in what was a disappointing loss for the Braves.