MLB: New York Mets at San Diego Padres

Game Recap May 7: Bartolo Colon Home Run Day (or, No, Your Eyes Did Not Deceive You)

Where were you when Bartolo Colon hit a home run? What were you doing when Big Sexy hit a shot bigger and sexier than even his 101 exit velo foul ball or batting practice home run could have predicted? How does it feel knowing that nothing can replicate the feeling of witnessing that which was deemed inconceivable, an event 42 years and 349 days in the making, thinking that if he was fated to do this, what immaculate occurrence might I have in the future? Whatever superstitious rituals you had now have a validating outcome. Where were you when Bartolo Colon hit a home run?

The rise of Steph Curry has come with a consistent mantra: he’s popular because he does the superhuman from a body that the everyman can relate to. What levels of hope must then be inspired by Bartolo Colon striking a ball over Petco Park’s left field wall, a park noted for its low ability to catalyze offense, in everybody who’s ever dreamed of hitting a big league home run? This is the power of sports, and the internet’s collective responses of giddy disbelief speak to what a special event it was.

But as for the act of hitting a home run itself? The Mets proved that alone was not a rare feat. All six runs scored were via the long ball, adding to their lead as the team with the highest percentage of runs scored thanks to home runs. Yoenis Cespedes had a two-run shot in the first inning while David Wright and Michael Conforto added to the trend of the Mets going back-to-back when they provided insurance runs in the top of the ninth.

The Padres had eight hits to the Mets’ nine, but the gap between seemed much larger. Save for Jon Jay’s three-run homer in the third, nothing substantial came of the Padres’ base runners, and they barely made their presence felt on the paths. In contrast, David Wright was testing the opposing pitchers all game and finally made his move by successfully swiping second in the seventh.

It’s no surprise to those watching the game that all nine runs scored came from home runs. Both starters, Colon and James Shields, displayed a willingness to leave low velo pitches over the plate. Only when Shields caught Lucas Duda with a 66-mph curve to strike him out did it seem like his command was consistent enough to lead to outs. In addition to that, both teams exhibited serious plate discipline in recognizing which pitches would fall outside the zone and not swinging. Colon continued his great control by allowing only one walk, while Shields seemed flustered early and gave up five free bases. The Padres pitching staff faced few pressure positions, but the Mets found themselves in a jam in the bottom of the eighth. Leading by only a run, Addison Reed gave up two hits but pitched a brilliant at bat with two outs to end the inning with a strikeout. Jeurys Familia, similarly, closed the game on a K.

Brian’s Additional Best Individual Plays:

0.5. Cespedes and Neil Walker were both inches away from noteworthy robs that would’ve ended the eighth; instead, their slight misses led to the scenario from which Reed had to escape.

1. Kevin Plawecki must’ve read Bryan Grosnick’s piece on the Mets needing a new catcher, as he brought out the bats to the tune of two doubles deep in Petco.

2. Bartolo Colon clapped for James Shields after the latter singled off him in the third, presumably because anything less than a home run would’ve meant Colon stayed having the upper hand.

3. No handmade signs made the broadcast, but a fan was spotted holding up a cut-out of Colon’s head.

4. Even in San Diego, cheers of “Let’s go, Mets!” could be clearly heard.

Photo credit: Jake Roth – USA Today Sports

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