Bartolo Colon of the Yankees pitched his first shutout since 2006 on Monday against the Athletics. Colon allowed just four hits and did not walk a batter. His kept his approach simple, throw his fastball and keep it away from batters. Eighty six of his 103 pitches came in as fastballs, varying in speed between 89 and 94 miles per hour. His location really did the trick, however:
Colon did a great job of being around the middle of the plate without being in the middle of the plate. His pitches form a delicious looking doughnut, the hole being right in the sweet spot for batters. That hole is actually formed by his ability to keep the fastball away from both right and left handed batters. Against lefties, he was able to make the fastball fade away:
Against righties, the pitch came in straighter, but with a little movement away:
So in fact, Bartolo threw two fastballs, with slightly different velocities and spin:
One fastball, represented by the darker orange, is the classic overhand backspin pitch. The lighter orange pitch looks like it's thrown at a slightly lower angle, and in some ways looks like a very fast change up. With the mixing of location, speeds and spins, Colon kept the Athletics off balanced and pitched his best game in half a decade.