Bartolo Colon goes for a spot in the history books Sunday afternoon when he takes the mound at Target Field where the Texas Rangers will face the Minnesota Twins.
Colon (4-4 Hau'oli Kikaha Jersey , 4.91) snapped a tie with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal and became the winningest pitcher from the Dominican Republic earlier this week and should he earn a win Sunday, he would tie Nicaragua native Dennis Martinez for the most by a pitcher from any Latin American country.
“Now that I’ve won the 244, I see that it’s close to Dennis Martinez, but with health and enough time, I’m ready to be able to pass him and be the first Latin with more wins,” Colon said through a translator after snapping out of a five-game funk against the Kansas Royals on Monday “I feel happy, of course, to pass a Hall of Famer, the first Dominican in the Hall of Fame.”
Colon is 11-8 with a 3.78 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) against the Twins. Last season he was 5-6 with a 5.18 ERA in 15 starts for the Twins.
Colon is pitching in Minnesota as a visitor for the first time since July 16, 2005 at the Metrodome when he pitched the Los Angeles Angels.
The Latin American record is a big deal for not just the 45-year-old Colon but also for his teammates.
“They’ve wanted to get this win for him for some time now,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “It’s just incredible to watch. He’s such a humble guy. No real fanfare whatsoever. Kind of just a great humility.”
The Rangers have been one of baseball’s hottest teams of late.
They stretched their season-best winning streak to seven games Saturday as Adrian Beltre and Robinson Chirinos homered in 9-6 victory. With a win Sunday, the Rangers would clinch their second consecutive series sweep — and their second of the season Dorian O'Daniel Jersey , overall.
They may need to do it without first baseman Joey Gallo, who left the game in the third inning after stretching a double. Banister said Gallo had been “battling some soreness” the last few days.
“We played him at first base to try to alleviate some of that today, but it seemed to come back and get him a little bit,” Bannister said. “We’ll reassess him and see where he is tomorrow.”
The Twins have dropped three straight games after Eddie Rosario homered and drove in four runs Saturday.
Right-hander Jose Berrios (7-5, 3.38) will try to keep Texas’ brooms at bay.
Berrios earned a no-decision but was magnificent in his last outing, holding the Red Sox to a run on five hits while striking out six over 6 1/3 innings Tuesday.
He’s only allowed one run in each of his last two outings and gave up two in the start before that. Over his last seven outings, Berrios is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA.
Berrios won his only start against Texas, allowing five runs and five innings in a 6-5 victory Aug. 6. He also is 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in four starts against teams from the AL West.
Should Berrios struggle Sunday, the Twins will have a fresh arm in the bullpen. Minnesota’s bullpen covered 7 1/3 innings Saturday after Jake Odorizzi recorded just five outs.
The team plans to summon right-hander Alan Busenitz from Triple-A Rochester, where he has a 1.27 ERA in 17 outings this season.
To make room for Busenitz on the roster, Minnesota optioned 23-year-old starter Fernando Romero to Triple-A. The right-hander is 3-3 with a 4.38 ERA and has a 7.54 ERA over his last five starts.
“His starts, while they haven’t been horrific or horrendous or any of those type of things Nick Easton Jersey , it just looks like it’s been a little more laborious for him,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Some of the things that a young pitcher goes through, I think it’s time to reset him. There’s obviously some things maybe that I don’t want to be too transparent about that I think he needs to work on. I’m sure he’ll get back to work.”
Dustin Byfuglien is a big problem for Vegas.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Winnipeg defenseman can do it all, as the Golden Knights saw up close when he helped the Jets win Game 1 of the Western Conference finals with a goal and an assist.
”We got moving our feet right away,” Byfuglien said. ”And the ice opened up.”
Byfuglien has a powerful shot, as he showed with a slap shot 1:05 into the Jets’ 4-2 victory .
The 33-year-old former forward, who played right wing for the Chicago Blackhawks during their Stanley Cup run in 2010, can join a rush on offense in even-strength situations and plays on the power play. The NFL-sized player is nimble enough to skate fluidly and he handles the puck with soft hands. Byfuglien can crunch opponents against the boards or on the open ice with checks and kill penalties with savvy positioning.
In Game 1, he did all of that and more.
”You saw the Dustin Byfuglien spectrum,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. ”He can shoot the puck a ton. He can make soft-hand plays and he can be as big and strong as you want out there.”
Vegas center William Karlsson was asked to compare Byfuglien with any other player in the league. And he was stumped.
”He’s kind of one of a kind,” Karlsson said.
If the expansion Golden Knights can’t figure out a way to keep the puck away from Byfuglien and work around him offensively Aaron Burbridge Jersey , their inaugural season may not last beyond this series.
Game 2 is Monday night in Winnipeg.
Byfuglien leads the league’s defensemen with 15 points and five multi-point games in the playoffs.
”When he is on his game, he is as good as anybody,” Vegas coach Gerrard Gallant. ”He’s a big strong man and can play the game any way you want to play it.
”Buf is a good player, but hopefully we don’t give him too many chances to load up like we did (in Game 1) and take that big shot.”
The Blackhawks gave Byfuglien a shot to play in the NHL, taking a flyer on the Minnesota native in the eighth round with the No. 245 pick overall in 2003. He played his first full season in the league five years later and had 11 goals and five assists for Chicago during the 2010 playoffs.
Byfuglien didn’t get to celebrate the championship for very long because the Blackhawks traded him to less than three weeks after hoisting the Cup. Chicago sent him to the Atlanta Thrashers, who became the Jets, to help manage its salary cap. He has become a three-time All-Star with the franchise and a player respected enough on the blue line to be in the running for the Norris Trophy six times.
Byfuglien, though, got off to a slow start offensively this season with a slump that seems improbable for a player with five goals in 13 playoff games this year. He began the season with a 29-game goal drought and finished with eight goals, his fewest in five seasons.
”He had a helluva year and it was masked by the fact that he didn’t score a goal for a long time and didn’t generate points,” Maurice said. ”The question was `What’s wrong with Dustin Byfuglien?’ And the answer was, `Absolutely nothing Colin Kaepernick Jersey ,’ because our hockey team was winning and he was playing right.”
Byfuglien has been businesslike around reporters lately, appearing to be focused on his tasks instead of showing off tricks with a cosmetic tooth he can pop in and out of his mouth with his tongue. When a reporter asked about the Atlanta hat he wore in the dressing room before Game 1, wondering if it was a nod to his season with the Thrashers, he wasn’t in the mood to play along.
”The what?” he asked. ”I don’t even know what hat I got on.”
Byfuglien also wasn’t interested in comparing the Jets’ run to his success with the Blackhawks.
”That was a while ago,” he said.
Discussing the challenges of facing Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury also didn’t interest him.
”Get it behind him,” he said. ”Shoot pucks and hopefully they go in.”
His first shot against Fleury found the back of the net, and the blast probably pushed the netting to its limit because it was so powerful.
”That first goal was a bomb,” Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland said.
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