Cool, calm and collected, Colon outpitches Arrieta
Mets righty allows two runs on four hits over six solid innings for seventh win
By Joshua Needelman
NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins warned against doubting Bartolo Colon. The 43-year-old was too cool to be intimidated by Jake Arrieta, Collins insisted, too calm to get caught up in the moment of pitching against the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner at Citi Field on Saturday night.
Collins' words proved prophetic. Colon was the more collected of the two starters in the Mets' 4-3 win over the Cubs, their third straight in the series and their seventh consecutive over Chicago since Game 1 of the 2015 NL Championship Series. The big righty tossed six innings of two-run ball to earn his seventh win of the season.
"You saw the first pitch of the game. The first pitch is [87 mph]. Tried to locate it, didn't try to overthrow it," Collins said. "He just knows what he's got to do. He's just making sure he's making pitches. He doesn't care how hard they are."
Colon's outing wasn't predicated entirely on finesse, Collins pointed out. The 19-year veteran touched 92 mph on his fastball four times in his final inning. But Colon's strength Saturday night was hitting his spots and pitching smart.
Arrieta, meanwhile, stumbled through 5 1/3 innings in his third straight outing without a quality start. He allowed a two-run homer to Neil Walker in the first inning and a two-run single to Travis d'Arnaud in the fourth before getting chased in the sixth.
It proved to be all the offense Colon needed. Aside from surrendering a two-run blast to Anthony Rizzo in the fourth frame, he was unfazed by the moment.
"As his teammate with the Yankees and his teammate now, he's always seemed to be a composed pitcher on the mound no matter who the opponent may happen to be," Curtis Granderson said.
d'Arnaud added that Colon, who allowed four hits and had five strikeouts, was laughing and joking with his teammates before the game.
It's a mindset Collins wishes some of his younger starters would adapt. Aside from Colon, the Mets' rotation consists of four pitchers who have become household names over the past few years: Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz.
"If every one of those guys went about doing their jobs just like Bartolo -- 'Hey, I'm going to be myself today, I don't care who I'm pitching against' -- they'd be a lot better off," Collins said.
Colon, through a translator, admitted it was a "big accomplishment," to come away with a win against Arrieta.
That being said, Saturday marked the 225th win of Colon's career. It wasn't the first time he'd picked up a win against a notable pitcher. The thrill wears off over time.
Besides, it wasn't too long ago that Colon was the dominant ace opponents were trying to outpitch.
"He's got one of those trophies, too, on his mantle," Collins said of the 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner. "He's going to be himself."
Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.