Wrapping things up here at Angel Stadium, where it’s tough to keep track of the days with these wacky two-game series. The A’s don’t typically finish a series on a Tuesday, and it’s even more rare for them to play a Tuesday game with a crazy start time (4:05 first pitch today). Blame it on the MLB scheduling. Every year, teams get a week where they play back-to-back two-game sets. The A’s have lucked out the past couple years because they’ve been at home for these series. It’s a different story on the road. Just when a team starts to settle in at a ballpark, bags are being packed and they’re off again …
–How should we judge Bartolo Colon’s start this afternoon? The box score says he got roughed up — 12 hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings. But it certainly didn’t seem like Colon was hit very hard most of the day. He was hitting 92 mph with his fastball, and that’s a good sign because Colon’s velocity had been down over his past couple of starts.
“I thought he threw the ball well,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “His velocity was back. It’s not like he was struggling.”
But facts are facts. Colon just isn’t pitching with the same efficiency he was through most of April. He’s at his best when he’s painting that fastball on the inside and outside corners, but lately opponents are getting good wood on it. The A’s need this guy to get back to form. Of all the A’s starters, Colon is the guy who’s easiest to take for granted. He goes about his work in such a matter-of-fact manner that you assume he’ll chalk up a quality start each time he takes the mound. Watch him over his next several starts, though. The main concern when the A’s signed him was that Colon might wilt in the second half of the season, like he did in 2011. The A’s don’t need him showing cracks in the armor before they even hit the All-Star break.
–It’s no secret a team needs to bring the sticks to Rangers Ballpark whenever they play there. Texas leads the AL in runs with 212. They feature the game’s most dangerous hitter at the moment in Josh Hamilton. A team has to score runs if they want to keep up with the Rangers in their stadium. But check out the pitching stats, too. The Rangers sport the AL’s best team ERA at 3.24. A’s manager Bob Melvin was asked if he considers the upcoming two-game series a measuring stick for his club.
“We’re not at full strength, so when you say measuring stick, I think a measuring stick is more when you’re at full strength,” Melvin said. “It’s a tough task playing in their park. They usually score a lot of runs, so our pitching has to be good. And offensively, we have to be better. We feel our pitching has a chance to hold them down.”
Tommy Milone gets the first crack to do that Wednesday in his first career appearance against Texas …