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Soft-spoken Colon will throw hard
10/05/2004 4:52 PM ET
ANAHEIM -- The Angels will look to a throwback to propel them forward in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

Angels starter Bartolo Colon will take the mound Wednesday against Boston right-hander and countryman Pedro Martinez in what could be the most anticipated postseason game in the Dominican Republic.

"My family will be rooting for me, his family will be rooting for him," Colon said in Spanish. "From there on, I have no idea."

The shy Colon will face the brash Martinez, his favorite pitcher no less, and his team the same way he has faced everybody this year -- by remaining calm on the mound and with a steady dose of the hard stuff. The fact that Colon pitched in the ALDS in 1998, 1999, and 2001 while with Cleveland doesn't hurt, either.

"I definitely have the experience and I consider myself better, and so it should be help for me," Colon said.

He has the numbers to back up his claim. Colon is 2-2 with a 3.29 ERA and 31 strikeouts in six playoff starts. He went 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA in the AL Championship Series against the Yankees while with Cleveland in 1999.

"It doesn't bother me what the outside circumstances [are]," Colon said. "Inside, also I feel the same, just as tranquil and calm. And regarding the umpires, I cannot let the umpires affect the way I pitch. They are trying to do a job, just as I am, and sometimes it's going to work out in one direction or another, but it does not bother me, and I feel, I repeat, just as calm inside as you see me out on the mound."

In his first season with the Angels, Colon went 18-12 with a 5.01 ERA in 208 1/3 innings during 34 starts. He led the club in wins, starts and tied in innings pitched with Kelvim Escobar. Among AL pitchers, he ranked third in wins, tied for third in starts, tied for second in home runs allowed (38) and ninth in runs allowed (122).

He limited opponents to three runs or less 18 times during the regular season.

"He just plays good old country hardball," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I mean, he throws a hard, heavy ball in good locations, absolutely fearless at challenging hitters, can pitch better than, I think, a lot of people give him credit for, hits spots very well, changes speeds well, and I think he is -- you know, he is certainly a throwback type power pitcher in the way he goes after it, much like [Curt] Schilling."

   Bartolo Colon  /   P
Born: 05/24/73
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 240 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

But the season was not without its struggles for Colon. From May 20 to June 17, he lost four consecutive games over a span of six starts, matching the longest losing streak of his career. Some, including Scioscia, believe the slump was caused by a sore left ankle.

"His ankle was the most contributing factor to his struggles, and it was the effect it had on his delivery, the effect it had on his stride to the plate, and it's something that he worked very hard to find out and find a delivery to execute pitches, and he did," Scioscia said. "We hope that we have resolved that. He is going to be strong for the duration of the playoffs and also moving into next year, something that can be addressed early if it needs to be so the mechanics aren't altered to create such a drought that he had."

Colon didn't think the ankle was huge factor, instead insisting his change of workouts led to a strong finish -- he won eight of his last 12 starts. He allowed four hits in eight innings and three hits in seven innings in his final two starts of the season.

But the regular season means little, if anyhing, now. The postseason has begun and the eyes of two nations -- the United States and the Dominican Republic -- will be on Angel Stadium come Wednesday evening.

"I am not going to worry about Pedro, I am going to worry about the batters," Colon said. "With all due respect, I am going to concentrate on the batters."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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