clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tigers vs. Rangers Preview: IT’S BARTOLO COLON TIME

The Tigers square off against the delightful Bartolo Colon in their series finale in Texas.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve posed questions about fixing baseball several times here on the site. Questions like “What would you change if you were MLB commissioner” are fun to ponder. Personally, I’d make a host of fixes, most of which I believe would help grow the game without significantly changing baseball’s normal ebb and flow (looking at you, Manfred).

One of the more obscure fixes would involve Bartolo Colon. For as long as Colon sticks in the majors, I would mandate that the designated hitter rule is voided in any game that he starts or appears in. The Rangers’ portly righthander is a joy to watch at the plate, with his helmet often traveling farther than the ball.

Unfortunately, we do not get to revel in the joy that is Bartolo Colon batting on Wednesday. We will, however, get to see him pump low-90s fastball after low-90s fastball into the strike zone against our beloved Tigers. True baseball fans may find themselves conflicted as to which side they would like to see emerge victorious from this game, but the right answer is that we are all winners for viewing such a spectacle.

But if the Tigers want to knock him around a bit too, I won’t complain.

Detroit Tigers (15-20) at Texas Rangers (14-24)

Time/Place: 2:05 p.m., Globe Life Park
SB Nation site: Lone Star Ball
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP Francisco Liriano (3-1, 2.97 ERA) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (1-1, 3.29 ERA)

Game 36 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Liriano 36.1 18.6 11.4 4.13 0.5
Colon 38.1 17.4 2.1 4.89 0.1

There isn’t much to say about Colon’s performance this year. Yes, he has been better than he was in 2017, with a slightly improved strikeout rate and lower walk rate. However, this isn’t thanks to a drastic change in approach, altered release point, or anything noteworthy. Colon is still throwing his fastball over 80 percent of the time, and most of them are hitting the strike zone. His velocity still averages north of 90 miles per hour, which is impressive in its own right, but there isn’t anything different going on here. Just watch him, and enjoy the simple beauty of him mowing down a ragtag Tigers lineup — one that will not include Nicholas Castellanos, it appears.

Key matchup: Francisco Liriano vs. the platoon advantage

The Rangers have been one of the worst teams in the American League at hitting left-handed pitching this year. This shouldn’t come as a surprise — three of the Rangers’ top four or five hitters are left-handed — but somehow it does. They have a 92 wRC+ as a team against southpaws, and are striking out over 27 percent of the time. Leadoff hitter Delino DeShields and platoon outfielder Ryan Rua are carrying their own weight, and lefties Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara are holding their own. However, thanks to injuries, the Rangers have had to rely on the likes of Renato Nunez and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who have struggled (to put it nicely) in limited action against lefties.


Colon and the Rangers take the series.

Gameday reading