Oakland hurler Bartolo Colon was able to shut out the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last weekend despite not feeling well.
One has to wonder what is in store for the Angels on Friday night, when they face a healthy Colon in the second contest of a four-game set with the Athletics.
Colon continues to defy Father Time this year, going 13-3 with a 2.52 earned run average in 20 starts. He has already tied Don Sutton's 1985 Oakland record for most wins by a 40 year old and a win tonight would be the most for an A's pitcher at that age or above in franchise history since Jack Quinn won 15 in 1927 for the Philadelphia-based club.
"I've been trying to explain it all year and I can't," said Oakland manager Bob Melvin of Colon's season. "He's a competitor. He loves to play the game. He loves pitching. He's always in a great mood, but he's in an even better mood on the day he is pitching, which you rarely see with starting pitchers. He's just pitching with a lot of confidence and we have a lot of confidence when he's on the mound."
An ill Colon flashed the confidence last Sunday in a 6-0 win over the Angels. He scattered four hits and a walk with five strikeouts in his third shutout of the season and 12th of his career. He also went the distance for the 35th time as a major leaguer and moved to 11-6 with four shutouts and a 3.17 ERA in 22 lifetime meetings with the Angels.
"Pretty amazing," Melvin said. "He was sick today on top of it. You saw the velocity. The velocity was down all day, so he did it a little bit differently today with more movement and less power and still got it done."
Colon has gotten it done for most of the season and has logged 13 straight starts of at least six innings with three runs or fewer allowed. The righty is 10-1 with a 1.62 ERA over that time and is the first 40 year old to log three shutouts in a season since Dennis Martinez in 1994 and the first A's pitcher since Quinn in 1928.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said starter Jerome Williams did not have much luck last time out and that trend continues tonight for the hurler as he faces Colon for the second straight outing.
Williams, who has not won since June 12, gave up six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and three walks over five-plus innings of the loss, falling to 5-6 with a 4.73 ERA in 24 games (13 starts) this season.
"I thought he threw the ball well," Scioscia said. "I think if you look at the line score, it doesn't look really healthy, but I thought Jerome threw the ball very well. He had both sides of the plate going, just not a lot of luck."
The 31-year-old righty had faced the A's three times in relief earlier this season and that included a six-frame appearance during a 19-inning matchup on April 29 in which he allowed just one unearned run.
He is 3-4 lifetime versus Oakland with a 3.79 ERA in 12 games (8 starts).
Williams would love for the Angels to follow up their offensive showing in last night's opener, when Albert Pujols had three hits and a pair of RBI to key an 8-3 win.
Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo also drove in two runs each and J.B. Shuck scored three times as the Angels won their second straight and moved to 4-3 since the All-Star break. Three of those wins have come versus the A's.
"We'll take eight runs any way they come," Scioscia said. "If we have one hitter hitting two grand slams and that's the only two hits we get, we'll take it. But I think the depth of our lineup is important. I think we had everybody contributing tonight, and that's nice."
C.J. Wilson won his third straight start as he gave up three runs on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts over seven innings.
Derek Norris went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and two RBI for the Athletics, who came into the game having won three of four. Dan Straily was touched for five runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
"I thought I had some pretty good command with the ball tonight," said Straily. "But later in the game they were able to get some good swings on the ball. They're aggressive hitters and they swing at a lot of pitches."
Despite the loss, Oakland remained three games up on Texas for first place in the AL West.
The A's have won six of 10 this season versus the Angels.