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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Bartolo Colon Experiment's Dark Side

For a guy that cost virtually no money and that we had very low expectations for, Bartolo Colon has already been a huge success. Still, last night at Citizens Bank Park in Philly was a painful reminder of how quickly it can change for a major league pitcher.

Colon (4-2) had nothing and as a result, the Phillies (42-30) blew out the Sox (44-29), 8-2, in the first game of a three-game set.

In four innings of work, Bartolo gave up four runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. The three home runs he allowed were killer as were the Babe Ruth-like swings (and six misses) in his two plate appearances (both times, he ironically came up with two runners on and two outs).

As a result, Colon came out early with back pain aggravated from his comical swings. After one mighty cut, his batting helmet fell off. Really. No need to worry though as the early exit allowed him to get a jump on his postgame wheelbarrow full of cheesesteaks from Pat's.

On the other side, Phillies ace Cole Hamels (7-4) pitched seven effective innings, showing that he's the best lefty in baseball not named Johan Santana.

"Hollywood Hamels"-as my buddy from Philly dubbed him, scattered two runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He also allowed two homers but that's pretty much par for the course in the Little League field known as the Bank.

Watching the game, I was reminded that when everyone is healthy, Boston and Philly probably field the top 1-5 hitters in their respective leagues.

Reigning MVP Jimmy Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a homer, on his way to a three hit, three RBI, two run night. Shane Victorino had two hits, a walk and a run. Chase Utley was 0 for 5 but nobody will remember that as slugger Ryan Howard was 3 for 4 with two homers and a triple (yes a triple). The former MVP drove in four and both of his bombs went to left. Even Pat Burrell reached base all four times he came up (two walks and two hits).

Down 3-0 right out of the gates (after the first) and 4-0 going into the fifth, the Red Sox scored both of their runs in the inning, fittingly on long balls.

Dustin Pedroia (3 hits) and the still on fire J.D. Drew did the honors with consecutive solo shots that made it 4-2 Phillies.

Any thoughts of a Sox win were extinguished when Mike Timlin gave up four runs in the sixth. Rollins had a two-run single and Howard tripled in Utley who reached on an RBI fielder's choice.

It'll be old school vs. new school tonight when Jon Lester takes on 46-year-old Jamie Moyer, who has been great this season. A quality start from Lester would be a big help since Boston had to use four relievers last night.

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