Adrian Beltre on Bartolo Colon
Even if we didn't need a reminder, Bartolo Colon gave us one Sunday night.
The Texas Rangers' 44-year-old right-hander was six outs from a perfect game against the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. There have only been 23 perfect games ever thrown and five of those came before 1923, you know, back when livestock often played the outfield.
But there he was, in his 530th career start, baffling the mighty Astros for seven innings. It was a nationally-televised game on ESPN and word spread quickly on social media that Big Sexy was flirting with the ultimate — the biggest and the sexiest, if you will — pitching feat of them all.
It was a thrilling reminder of the beauty of baseball and why so many of us fell in love with the game as kids.
Colon's amiable presence on the field, never ceasing to enjoy the game he loves, while surgically going through the Astros' lineup of sluggers added another layer of fun to the evening.
Then, of course, the Rangers rallied to score two in the 10th to beat the Astros 3-1 for the second consecutive day in extra innings.
Joey Gallo, who started the game-winning rally, summed up the weekend well.
"It’s been special. Through the adversity with the injuries and guys coming up and contributing against the World Series champs, I think it shows a lot about our character and the attitude of our team," he said. "We’re going to fight every game and compete to the last out. I think these last few games have shown the heart and desire we have for each other to win games."
The Rangers rallied late in all three games, including Friday's 3-2 loss. In a real way, especially considering the injuries the team has endured the first three weeks of the season, taking two of three from the Astros in Houston, kept the season from careening towards hopelessness. However temporarily..
Here's the reaction from an iHop in Northwest Houston:
1. A woo too far — I have my beef with the "woo" that Astros fans love to send echoing around Minute Maid Park. My disdain for it is well documented, thanks to a shout out from Ric Flair on Twitter. Thanks again, Ric!
Of course, mostly it's all in good fun. My annoyance, that is. Fans can do whatever they want at a ballpark, within reason. So more power to you. But ... there is a limit. Last night during the national anthem, at least one fan woo'ed. That's not cool. Hopefully, those around him (let's be honest, 99 percent of woo'ers are male) told the guy to zip it during the anthem.
2. No delaying Delino — Don't be surprised to see Delino DeShields starting a rehab assignment Friday in Double A Frisco. He hit flipped balls on Sunday and expects to face live batting practice Monday in Tampa, Fla. DeShields has said since having surgery to remove the broken hamate bone in his left hand that he'd be back in three weeks. Friday would be three weeks. DeShields isn't just talking tough, he's being serious. He thinks after a weekend of games with Frisco he could rejoin the Rangers on April 23 against the Athletics. As Jeff Banister said, "I wouldn't bet against him."
3. Striking number — Who cares about your offense racking up strikeouts if you're winning games? The Rangers struck out 44 times in the series against the Astros. But before you get too alarmed, remember who was pitching for Houston. These are strikeout artists. The Rangers' 157 strikeouts are the second-most in the American league behind the Orioles, who lead the majors with 177. More concerning is the team .225 batting average, which is the seventh-lowest in the majors. It's still early, however, and the slow offensive start has been exacerbated by the absence of Elvis Andrus, DeShields and Rougned Odor.
4. Mazara returns — Nomar Mazara was back in the lineup Sunday night. He didn't play Saturday because of a stiff neck. Mazara went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts as the designated hitter.
5. That winning feeling — The Rangers won consecutive games for the first time in 2018. They also won their first series.