Texas Rangers

Even when Colon can't rescue Rangers, it's must-click material

Mookie Betts hit one of the four Red Sox solo home runs Friday against Bartolo Colon, who lasted seven innings.
Mookie Betts hit one of the four Red Sox solo home runs Friday against Bartolo Colon, who lasted seven innings. The Associated Press

When it comes to the true barometer of what makes print news outlets hum these days in the transition to the digital age, Bartolo Colon is good for business.

Clicks, clicks, clicks.

The masses want to read stories about the right-hander, who at 44 years old and with a body by burgers, is still retiring major-league hitters and has done it better so far this season than any other Texas Rangers starting pitcher.

Google and Facebook apparently have algorithms for that, even when they change every couple weeks ... days ... hours.

The TV networks probably aren't complaining either.

"Big Sexy" is must-see TV and must-click reading.

He's been mesmerizing, to hitters who can't make solid contact on his 87 mph fastballs and to fans who are used to seeing long, lanky, muscular starters do far less.

Colon gave the Rangers another fighting chance Friday. He allowed four solo home runs in seven innings to the Boston Red Sox, who boast baseball's best offense, but the Rangers never solved Rick Porcello in a 5-1 loss.

"All the players know I throw strikes, and they want to be aggressive," Colon said. "Boston is a first-place team with good hitters, great hitters."

J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers and Mookie Betts led off the second, fifth and sixth innings with homers, and Devers connected again with one out in the seventh. The only other hit was a leadoff single to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the third.

Porcello, the 2016 Cy Young winner, allowed a solo homer to Nomar Mazara in the fourth, a leadoff single to Delino DeShields, and no other runs in while striking out eighth in seven innings.

Though the game resulted in the Rangers' fourth loss in six games, Colon did what he had done in his first four starts of the season: He gave the Rangers a chance to win.

"I feel great, and I feel proud of the job I have done," he said.

But the Colon infatuation goes beyond his performances. The joy in watching Colon in part stems from the joy he is having.

"You start with the age," manager Jeff Banister said. "I think how he does it compared to how he used to do it. Bartolo Colon used to be a feared hard-throwing right-hander that batters really didn't want to get in the box against. Now, they don't necessary want to get in the batter's box again because at times he can make you look silly. And then are just times he gets you out, and you get frustrated.

"There is joy in what he does. A guy gets a hit, and he's clapping for him. I guess the nickname that goes along with him, too. He looks like he's having a lot of fun playing the game, which he is."

Red Sox manager Alex Cora fawned over Colon, a former teammate, Thursday before the opener of the four-game series.

He watched last season as bench coach for the Houston Astros when they faced Colon when he was with the Atlanta Braves. It wasn't pretty.

Cora also watched the April 15 national broadcast as Colon flirted with a perfect game at Houston.

Rangers pitcher Bartolo Colon barely broke a sweat mentally while taking a perfect game into the eighth inning Sunday night.

"That was unreal, the way he's using that back-door sinkers to righties," Cora said "It starts in the other dugout and comes back for strike. I love the fact that enjoys it. He knows how good he is. He’s not fooling me. He’s good. But he’s enjoying the game."

After Hanley Ramirez's hard line drive to right field was caught to end a 1-2-3 first inning, Colon walked up to his countryman and former teammate — at this point, who isn't a former Colon teammate? — and Ramirez gave him a bear hug.

"I told him, 'Hey, you missed that pitch,'" Colon said.

After Devers' second homer and following a mound visit by pitching Doug Brocail, Colon just flipped the new ball to himself until play resumed.

After Josh Reddick — yes, another former Colon teammate — ruined his bid at a perfect game, Colon saluted him and Reddick saluted back.

After he beat Seattle Mariners speedster Dee Gordon to the bag on a play in which he had to cover first base, Colon didn't pass out. The guy is good fielder and athlete despite his heft and age.

Colon turns 45 on May 24 but is still managing to get outs.

"He's pitching a lot different than the norm right now," Cora said. "Usually it's north-south. He's still going east to west, and he's still getting people out and he enjoys the game.

"To see him doing this is fun."

It's must-click reading, and Colon is having a blast.

"I always enjoy every time when I'm pitching," he said. "I have fun. That's why I'm always talking, but I enjoy doing my job."

Red Sox 5, Rangers 1

Boston

010

011

110

5

7

0

Texas

000

100

000

1

4

0

Boston<QM>

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Betts rf

4

1

1

1

0

0

.365

Benintendi lf

4

0

0

0

0

1

.239

Ramirez 1b

4

0

1

1

0

0

.298

Martinez dh

4

1

1

1

0

2

.342

Bogaerts ss

4

0

0

0

0

1

.343

Devers 3b

4

2

3

2

0

1

.276

Nunez 2b

4

0

0

0

0

1

.234

Bradley Jr. cf

4

0

1

0

0

1

.183

Leon c

2

1

0

0

1

0

.111



Texas<QM>

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields cf

4

0

2

0

0

1

.293

Choo dh

3

0

0

0

1

1

.252

Profar ss

4

0

0

0

0

1

.233

Mazara rf

4

1

2

1

0

1

.291

Gallo lf

3

0

0

0

0

1

.214

Kiner-Falefa 3b

3

0

0

0

0

0

.266

Guzman 1b

3

0

0

0

0

3

.200

Chirinos c

3

0

0

0

0

2

.191

Robinson 2b

3

0

0

0

0

2

.175



LOB—Boston 3, Texas 3. 2B—Ramirez (7), Mazara (6). HR—Martinez (7), off Colon; Devers (5), off Colon; Betts (13), off Colon; Devers (6), off Colon; Mazara (7), off Porcello. RBIs—Betts (26), Ramirez (18), Martinez (25), Devers 2 (23), Mazara (23). Runners left in scoring position—Boston 2 (Benintendi, Martinez); Texas 1 (Guzman). RISP—Boston 0 for 2; Texas 0 for 3. Runners moved up—Betts, Gallo. GIDP—Choo. DP—Boston 1 (Devers, Bogaerts, Ramirez).

Boston

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Porcello, W 5-0

6

3

1

1

1

8

96

2.14

Kelly, H 3

1

0

0

0

0

1

16

2.63

Barnes

1

0

0

0

0

2

12

2.70

Poyner

1

1

0

0

0

1

22

2.25

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Colon, L 1-1

7

5

4

4

0

4

91

3.29

Diekman

1

1

1

1

1

1

23

4.76

Chavez

1

1

0

0

0

2

16

5.68

Umpires—Home, Adam Hamari; First, Adrian Johnson; Second, Dan Bellino; Third, Phil Cuzzi. T—2:36. A—31,404 (49,115).

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