"The best-laid plans..."
I love the fact that Bartolo Colon is still pitching effectively in the big leagues at age 41. So I wrote all the paragraphs below, about Colon, given that today was supposed to be his only start against the Cubs this year, yesterday.
Less than half an hour before the time this preview was scheduled to post, I saw this tweet:
Bartolo Colon will not start today. He flew home to visit his critically ill mother. Carlos Torres will start today. #Mets— New York Mets (@Mets) August 18, 2014
Hope all is well with Colon and his mom. I'll have a few notes about Carlos Torres below. In the meantime, since I spent all this time writing up the info about Colon, I'm leaving it here anyway.
Usually, I put information about the opposing pitcher below the pitcher photos in the game preview post. But the things I have to tell you about Colon are too good to save for that spot, so here we go.
When Bartolo Colon made his big-league debut for the 1997 Indians, Kyle Hendricks was not quite eight years old. For amusement value, here's the boxscore from his very first start against the Cubs, June 4, 1999. Colon is the only player from that game to still be in the major leagues... though there's one other player who's still playing in the minors (I think you can guess). One of his teammates on the 1997 Indians was Julio Franco, who wasn't even 40 then and who made his major-league debut 32 years ago, in 1982. Another teammate was Paul Assenmacher, who you might remember was part of the 1989 Cubs N.L. East division title team. That was a quarter of a century ago.
Colon did face the Cubs last year while with the Athletics, July 3, 2013 in Oakland... but there are hardly any Cubs left on the team from that game, either, just Luis Valbuena, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.
Colon is having a decent year at age 42, decent enough that someone will probably invite him back next year.
Can you tell I like writing about Bartolo Colon? One of the other notable things about him is that he's a brutally awful hitter. Lifetime he's 12-for-144 with 85 strikeouts. That's good for a .179 OPS and -51 (negative 51) OPS+. This year he's been worse, if that's even possible: 2-for-48 with 29 strikeouts (.104 OPS, -71 OPS+). Somehow, one of those hits was a double, the first extra-base hit of his career. Only 41 pitchers age 41 or older (Colon's age this year) have hit a double. Until he got a hit this year, he hadn't had one since 2005. Granted, all that time was spent in the American League, and he was 0-for-17 (10 strikeouts) in interleague play in that span. He also went 0-for-26 (17 K's) this year before his first hit.
Hope you enjoyed that, and again, best wishes to Colon and his mom. Now, on to today's particulars.
Alcantara CF, Baez 2B, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Ruggiano RF, Castillo C, Szczur LF, Hendricks P
Granderson RF, Murphy 2B, Wright 3B, Duda 1B, d'Arnaud C, den Dekker LF, Lagares CF, Flores SS, Torres P
Today's Starting Pitchers
This is, of course, Kyle Hendricks' first-ever start against the Mets. He's been quite consistent in his first six big-league starts (five of which were "quality starts," for whatever that's worth), so all I can say here is, "Keep up the good work."
Meanwhile, here are a few notes about Carlos Torres. He's been reasonably effective in 53 relief appearances for the Mets this year and this will be his first start of the season. He threw one-third of an inning in relief in yesterday's game, issuing a walk to Javier Baez and striking out Anthony Rizzo. I feel compelled to point out that the first game he started against the Cubs, September 3, 2009 at Wrigley Field, also an "emergency" start of sorts as that was a makeup game from a previous rainout, Torres threw seven shutout innings.
He probably won't do that today, but still.
Plus, he looks kind of angry in that photo. Wonder why they couldn't get him to smile, like Hendricks did.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.