What is there left to say about Bartolo Colon at this point? And what would it take to get his Yahoo! ownership over the 90 percent level, where it belongs?
Colon's Tour of Improbability kept rolling along Friday, as he scored his seventh consecutive victory (8 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K) at Seattle. Colon had only one hiccup in the game, a gopher ball thrown to good-looking Ms rookie Nick Franklin, but otherwise it was clear sailing. Colon threw 66-of-98 pitches in the zone and collected 11 ground-ball outs along the way. Maybe life does begin at 40.
Colon is getting some mileage from weak and harmless contact - his ground-ball and line-drive rates are slightly above league average. But for the most part this dream season (10 wins, 2.91 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) is being driven by impeccable control and stinginess with homers. Colon's 5.13 K/9 rate doesn't sound like much until you consider he walks just over one batter per nine. He's also been a little favorable with the gophers to this point, carrying a 7.1 HR/FB clip (the league average is 10.8).
Colon's numbers are better at home (ah, sewage), but not dramatically so: his 3.16 ERA and 1.21 WHIP on the road will play in any format. And he's proven himself in some difficult ballparks: note the seven bagels at Fenway Park, or the strong win at Texas last month (7 IP, 2 ER).
Colon is still unowned in a quarter of Yahoo! leagues, if you're finally ready to give in and accept the story. He'll try some National League opponents over the next two weeks: the Cardinals and Cubs at home, then a trip to Pittsburgh. Are you finally ready to buy in? Sometimes it's a case of joining the pitcher you can't beat.
• You'd like to think Stephen Strasburg would be able to dominant the Colorado offense at sea level, and that's what he did in a crisp seven innings Friday (5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 K). The velocity was in the high-90s on the heater, and Strasburg was effective with his breaking pitches as well. Strasburg could go on a nifty run with lots of home cooking coming up: he'll be in DC for the Diamondbacks, Brewers and Padres over the next two weeks. Welcome him back to SP1 status.
Before we dispatch the Rockies for the day, let's say something nice about second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who collected two hits, an RBI and a stolen base in Friday's defeat. He's up to .284 with nine bags in a modest 33 games, and you get the idea he might hold a starting gig all year, no matter what ultimately happens with Josh Rutledge. Colorado's record spinner is waiting for your call in 98 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• There wasn't a save situation in Boston's 10-6 romp over Detroit, but both clubs did clean up their closer situations.
Things are simple in Motown: with Jose Valverde designated for assignment Friday, Joaquin Benoit steps into the big chair. Given Benoit's history with home runs, not to mention his questionable durability, I suspect the Tigers will be shopping for a better option when trading season begins in earnest. But maybe Benoit can make something happen over the next few weeks and discourage a transaction.
Koji Uehara will get the first look as Boston's new closer, though John Farrell has strong alternatives in righty Junichi Tazawa and lefty Andrew Miller. Previous closer Andrew Bailey did all he could to lose the gig, allowing four homers over a horrific week-and-a-half stretch. It wouldn't be a shock if Bailey went back on the DL, even if it's something of a made-up ailment. He clearly doesn't look right at the moment. (Bailey, of course, thinks he'll get the closer job back at some point this year. That's admirable. We like confidence. But what do you expect a player to say in this situation?)
• If you need a relaxing way to spend your baseball evening, settle in for a Gerrit Cole start. The Pittsburgh rookie works quickly and has impeccable command; it's baseball as it oughta be. Cole's third victory was a stroll in the park, a creamy 6.1 innings at Anaheim (4 H 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K). Perhaps he tired somewhat in the seventh, when Albert Pujols cranked a homer, but this is one rookie who's ready for prime time right away.
I'm willing to look past a modest eight strikeouts over 18.1 innings, given that Cole has only walked one batter. And when you look at his tape, you see the potential for a strikeout spike down the line. Cole is at home against Milwaukee and Philadelphia for his next two starts. Sounds good to me.
• I'm going to keep riding this Brian Dozier train until he gives me reason to regret it. I know the average is ugly here but category juice is welcome in our game at any time, especially in the middle infield. Dozier has four homers in his past five games, he's starting to walk a bit (four free passes over six games), and he'll run aggressively on the bases, merited or not (six bags, five caught stealings).
Dozier has settled in as Minnesota's leadoff man and he qualifies at both middle positions. Nonetheless, he's still waiting for a contract in 92 percent of Y! leagues. Come on, kick some tires with me. If you're not happy in a few days, you can always drop him for someone else.
Speed Round: Rafael Betancourt (groin) is closing in on a return, perhaps as soon as Thursday . . . Ike Davis has four homers in his last two Triple-A games and the Mets might have to accelerate his return now that Lucas Duda (side) is dinged up . . . Tyler Lyons was knocked around Friday and is no longer in the Cardinals rotation. Michael Wacha are Carlos Martinez are two possible replacement options . . . The Brewers flipped their bullpen on Friday, with Francisco Rodriguez working the eighth and Jim Henderson getting the save in the ninth. Both relievers struck out two; Rodriguez had a clean inning while Henderson walked two . . . Bryce Harper (knee) figures to start a rehab assignment on Wednesday or Thursday.