Sunday, May 8, 2016

How the Mets Fare When Their Starting Pitcher Homers

Bartolo Colon, Slugger.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

It.  Has.  Happened.

Bartolo Colon accomplished what was thought to be impossible, crushing an offering by Padres' starter James Shields into the Western Metal Supply Co. building.  It was the 266th tater served up by Shields in his career, but the first he had ever allowed to an opposing pitcher.  Colon's two-run shot gave the Mets a 4-0 lead in a game they ended up winning, 6-3, which continued an odd two-decades long winning streak.

Beginning with former No. 1 overall pick Paul Wilson's homer against the Phillies on September 20, 1996, the Mets have now won 14 consecutive games in which their starting pitcher homered.  That includes blasts by beloved and respected pitchers (Rick Reed, Johan Santana, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey), pitchers who are among the team's all-time top ten in victories (Bobby Jones, Steve Trachsel), pitchers who were barely on the Mets (Armando Reynoso, Jeremy Hefner) and a pitcher who had better success hitting a Roger Clemens pitch than he did at hitting Roger Clemens with a pitch (Shawn Estes).

The Dirty Baker's Dozen, BC (Before Colon).

Interestingly enough, prior to Wilson's round tripper, his former Generation K teammate, Jason Isringhausen, was responsible for the team's two previous homers by starting pitchers, going deep twice in a five-week period during the summer of '96, but the Mets lost both contests, dropping a 6-5 decision to the Pirates on June 19 and a 7-6 game at Coors Field against the Rockies on July 24.  And before Isringhausen, Dwight Gooden was the last pitcher to homer in a game, doing so against the Marlins in 1993.  Yup, the Mets lost that game, too.

For a time, the Mets could only lose games in which their starting pitcher hit a home run.  Now, they can't lose when the pitcher trots around the bases.  The Mets' decades-long winning streak when the starting pitcher homers is now up to 14 games, and it was extended by the unlikeliest candidate in hefty hurler Bartolo Colon.

Death, taxes and the Mets winning ballgames when the starter goes yard.  There are currently no surer things in life.

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