Colome Looks Improved in 2015 Debut
Making his 2015 debut, Alex Colome turned in his most well-rounded big-league performance yet.
Colome tossed five scoreless innings while striking out six batters and walking none. He used just 60 pitches to finish the five frames. Considering the time missed in March, it would be understandable if the Rays took a conservative approach; don’t blame it on the pitch count, however, as manager Kevin Cash seems more interested in how many times a pitcher faces the opposition’s lineup. Colome had successfully flipped the Baltimore’s lineup twice after five innings. In lieu of having the right-hander face the top of the order for a third time, the rookie skipper turned to his bullpen for 12 outs following the off day.
Against the Orioles, Colome showed improved command of his arsenal and used a four-pitch mix for the first time as a big leaguer. He worked primarily off a mid-90s fastball with a good idea of where it was going. From there he threw a hard slider-slash-cutter in the mid-to-upper 80s, a changeup and a disco-era curve (75-79 mph).
Colome’s curveball was a pitched talked about a few years ago but seldom seen at the top level. In 2013 and 2014, he threw 650 pitches in a Rays’ uniform; just eight of those were curves. He threw seven on Friday, including two hooks that completed strikeouts. In additional to the breaking ball, he had increased command of his fastball and slider. The slider was thrown glove-side and down while the fastball was thrown on both sides of the plate. Previously, Colome worked primarily arm-side with the heater; on Friday he was able to locate a few to his glove side as well.
The 26-year-old has taken longer to develop than most had hoped, and has missed some opportunities along the way. But regardless of the past, the Rays need Colome in the present. And performances like Friday will ensure he has a future in St. Pete.