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Smoke and mirrors gone for Colon
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - New York Mets starter Bartolo Colon has given us some of the most GIF-worthy moments of the 2014 season, like when he affably jiggled his belly after a dominant outing on April 8 and when he swung and missed with so much vigor that his batting helmet fell off on April 19, but his performance on the mound hasn't been something the Internet needs to preserve.

The right-hander holds a 5.84 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP through 49 1/3 innings.

That's not what the Mets expected when they handed the 40-year-old a two-year, $20 million contract after he went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA with the Oakland Athletics last season.

As you'd expect with a pitcher who has an ERA near six, Colon has been obliterated with men on base.

He's allowed batters to go 30-for-86 (.349) with runners on, including 13- for-37 (.351) with runners in scoring position (RISP). He has a line-drive rate above 30 percent in both situations and has stranded 64.7 percent of his baserunners.

Colon has thrown his fastball (four-seam and two-seam) nearly 88 percent of the time this season, and we're finding out what happens when things go wrong for a pitcher who has no reliable off-speed pitches to fall back on.

He's served up eight home runs already, just six less than he allowed in 190 1/3 innings last season.

He wasn't unhittable last year, but opponents did minimal damage when they put the ball in play. Of the 166 hits he gave up on his four-seam and two-seam fastballs, just 39 went for extra bases (23.5 percent).

This year, he's been a glorified batting-practice pitcher, giving up an extra- base hit on 30.4 percent of the knocks he's allowed on his fastballs.

Colon has a 54.9 percent fly-ball rate on his four-seamer, up from 40.3 percent in 2013, and his HR/FB on the pitch is up from 4.6 to 14.3 percent. He's already allowed 10 extra-base hits on the four-seamer after giving up 14 all of last season.

He also has allowed a 32.2 percent line-drive rate on his two-seamer and batters are hitting .343 when he throws it.

Colon has had his fair share of strong starts this season -- he's thrown seven innings or more and allowed three earned runs or less in four of his eight outings -- but his bad starts were loaded with crooked numbers.

In his worst three appearances, Colon gave up a combined 32 hits and 22 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings.

And that's the problem with a pitcher who throws just one pitch (or several variations of one pitch). When it isn't working, he has nothing else to go to and batters can tee off.

Colon somehow kept hitters at bay in 2013, but the smoke has dissipated and the mirrors have shattered this season.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at

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