In for John Hickey one last time this week, completing a 5-1 trip through Texas. Heading out of town, so this’ll be a short one …
It was Grade A Bartolo Colon on this day. Pitching for the first time since turning 40 on Friday, he must have had a good meal or something like that Saturday night. He came out blazing, consistently throwing 94-95 mph with pretty much pinpoint control. I don’t know what’s more phenomenal, the fact that he’s throwing that hard at age 40 or the fact that he’s the most accurate pitcher in baseball right now. He’s walked precisely four guys in 61 1/3 innings. How amazing is that? Matt Cain walked five in the first two innings of the Giants game Sunday, and he’s regarded as a control guy.
Colon is off the charts right now, and seems to be a lot more comfortable in his surroundings this season than last. He opened and closed this road trip with victories, and he seemed to barely break a sweat. The Rangers had trouble, the Astros were flat out baffled. Bartolo gave up nine hits, but he wasn’t getting hit hard. Lots of singles. When he needed an out, he seemed to find something extra, such as when he blew away Jose Altuve on three straight 94-mph fastballs in the sixth inning.
The other noteworthy guy Sunday was Nate Freiman, who ushered up memories of Mark McGwire with his tape-measure home run in the sixth inning. We’re guess-timating around 420 feet since the folks at Minute Maid Park don’t provide distances. But it was a blow. Hard to figure how the Padres and Astros both didn’t want this guy. He looks like he could develop into a very good major-league power hitter, and a solid hitter, period. He’s patient, has a compact stroke and incredible power in that 6-foot-8 body.
Strong road trip for the A’s, who will roll into their four games against the Giants having won 7 of 8. They got a solid starting pitching effort in every game on this trip, save Tommy Milone’s one weird five-run, two-out blip on Friday night. It should be a heck of a home-and-home with the Giants having won two in a row coming into the matchup. I thought last year’s games were the best in the history of the Bay Bridge Series, competitive and suspenseful. We should expect no less this time.
It’s been great to get back into a baseball groove this week after nearly two months helping out on the Warriors. I’ll be back for the last Bay Bridge game Thursday. It’s been a pleasure serving you, and I think I’m going to manage getting out of the Lone Star State without a twang. Talk to you back in the Bay.