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Playing With Matchups: Bartolo Colon vs. Kansas City

Colon's Known Knowns

It's only been 5 starts, but at this point we've got a good idea of what Bartolo is going to give SSS faithful each time he takes the bump.  See his last start, por ejemplo.  His four-seamer sits 88-92 depending on how he's feeling and how hot the gun is at the park on game day.  He's also got a two-seamer with less velocity and more horizontal movement that he can get jam-shots and grounders with against RHB.  He very rarely mixes in a slider to them, as well.  Against lefties, he has yet to show much of a change.  When he's had trouble getting the inside corner, he gives up walks and gets hit hard.  As Cheat has mentioned, he has a slim margin for error.  His stuff is lacking and his success is highly control dependent.  I would say therefore there are two questions to tackle in predicting his success in any given start:

1)How is his command?

2)How many and how good are the LHB?

We're not going to know about the former until the game starts.  As for the latter, the Royals have a pretty middling offense that has been playing a bit over its head so far, having been average over the first month.

The Lefties

The Royals really don't have that many impressive bats and it's no better from the left than from the right.  They certainly feel the loss of Alex Gordon, whom PECOTA picked to hit .267/.359/.501 against RHP in '09.  The biggest threat at the moment is something of a toss up.  Going back to PECOTA, it would suggest Mike Jacobs.  He's totally useless in the field and against lefties, but if there is one thing he can do, it's hit homers against opposite handed foes. Career vs. RHP: .267/.328/.522.  Note the still below average OBP.  His contact rate and understanding of the zone are not very good.  As long as Colon is wily enough to induce bad swings, he'll avoid damage, but it isn't going to help that he only has a variety of heat to offer Jacobs, as he loves to chase. As a rule against lefties, Colon has the same approach he has at dinner time: not much falls off the plate.*

Meanwhile, Mark Teahen and David DeJesus will be responsible for much of the on-basing.  This is simply because no one else is going to do it at an above average rate from either side of the plate.  Neither are especially walk oriented, but they hit the ball with authority into the gaps and with some HR power.  Callapso and Crisp are similar, but without the pop.  Royal Team Truism: limit hits and they don't have much other way on base.  This will hopefully provide a larger margin of error than normal.  It also means it's more likely that if the Sox lose, they've been BABIP'd to death.  Good defense will be necessary.

The Righties

Nothing really special, particularly against same-handed pitches.  Billy Butler is still young and the Royals are still waiting on his power to come.  He's got to hit above average to avoid a replacement level tag at DH and he's yet to get there in his young career.  I wonder if the Royals should have been in such a hurry to start his service clock.  Good ol' hindsight.  Mike Aviles is no Ben Zobrist, but he's certainly got a mutant version of Puntitis of his own.  It remains to be seen if he can match his .350+ BABIP in 2008 and most projection systems have him pegged for 70-80 point drop in OPS.  Since he's such an upstart, it's really not clear what kind of value he's going to provide.  Like Charlie Kelly, he's the wildcard, bitches!  The catchers, both right handed, are ineffectual against non-southpaws.




*Colon fat joke quota satisfied