FLUSHING, NY: All off-season and all Spring, if you talked about the Mets, you talked about their young, stud, starting pitchers – Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and the returning Zack Wheeler. And oh yeah, you had the other guy that looked like a softball pitcher, Bartolo Colon.
The other guy had a good night tonight.
Although the Phillies got the only run of the game, a homerun from Ryan Howard in the fifth inning, for their first win of the season, Colon was superb while being denied a chance of tying Pedro Martinez for the second most wins (219) by a Dominican pitcher as the Mets (2-2) lost to Philadelphia (1-4), 1-0.
The 42 year-old Colon was making his first start of the season and facing 23 year-old rookie Vince Velasquez, who was acquired by the Phils in the seven-player deal that sent closer Ken Giles to Houston. Velasquez (W, 1-0) struck out a career high nine in his six shutout innings.
Colon retired 12 of 13 batters, striking out six of them heading into the 5th, when he made his only mistake of the night and Howard launched a 1-1 pitch into the opposite field seats in left, his first home run of the year. “The pitch just stayed towards the middle’, said Colon.
Should have been no surprise to Mets fans. Howard has the most home runs against the Mets (45) than any active players
Although the temperature was 41 degrees at game time, the sleeveless Colon (L, 0-1) allowed just five hits in his six innings, walking none and striking out a total of seven for his day at the office. He even made an over the shoulder catch of a pop-up over the mound.
The Mets offense was helpless against Velasquez, who unlike Colon, was wearing long sleeves and had little “heat” packets in his back pocket to keep warm. He held the Mets to just three hits (Asdrubal Cabrera had two of them) and walked three in his Phillie debut.
The Mets must have been licking their chops when Velasquez left after six innings, knowing that the Philadelphia bullpen had been tagged for 15 earned runs in their first 10.2 innings of work. But the bridge of Hector Neris, Daniel Stumpf and David Hernandez held the Mets hitless, plowing the field for new closer Jeanmar Gomez, who finished the job in the ninth on just six pitches.
The win helped the Phillies avoided their first 0-5 start since 1934 and got them just their second win at Citi Field in their last 12 visits.
Matt Harvey (0-1) takes the ball Sunday afternoon in the rubber game against Jeremey Hellickson (0-0). Hellickson allowed one unearned run in a no-decisions against the Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day, while Harvey was the losing pitcher in the Mets opener against the Royals. Steven Matz will make his 2016 season debut against the Marlins on Monday Night Baseball (ESPN).
POSITIVES: Is there anything more entertaining that watching Bartolo Colon play the game of baseball? The way he pitches, fooling batters with 88 mph fastballs. Then the excitement the crowd generates when he steps up to the plate. This is a guy with a lifetime .091 BA. Then he makes an over the shoulder catch of a blooper over the mound. Worth the price of admission SEE THAT VIDEO WITH THIS LINK … Cabrera had two of the Mets three hits (including a double), Lucas Duda had the other …Hansel Robles, Antonio Bastardo and Jeurys Familia checked in with three shutout innings, although the Phils ran themselves out of a run (or more) in the ninth inning against Famalia, who gave up three hits.
NEGATIVES: Mets were 0-5 with RISP and struck out 12 times … Wilmer Flores started for David Wright and had two walks … Yoenis Cespedes and Duda struck out three times each …