Bartolo Colon made his major league debut less than a year after Jaime Barria was born.
They’ll go head-to-head as starting pitchers Friday night when the Texas Rangers (24-35) open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels (30-27) at Angel Stadium.
Colon turned 45 last week and the right-hander is still putting up good numbers long after making his first career start April 4, 1997 for the Cleveland Indians.
Colon (2-2, 3.55 ERA) has pitched into the sixth inning in his past seven starts, and went at least seven frames in five of those outings. He’s allowed more than four earned runs only once this season, a 10-5 loss against the visiting New York Yankees on May 21.
“He’s going to throw a huge number of strikes and he’s going to disrupt your timing,” Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost told reporters after Colon held his team to three runs and five hits over seven innings in a 4-3 win by the Rangers on Saturday. “That’s what he does really, really well. That’s why, at 45 years old, he’s still pitching. He’s got that knack where he can command every pitch that he has, and he can hit the gas pedal and he can let off. He goes forward, back, in, out, up, down and commands all of it.”
Colon, who won the AL Cy Young with the Angels in 2005, allowed one run in three innings of relief against the visiting Angels in an 11-1 loss on April 10.
He’s 12-8 in his career against Los Angeles with a 3.62 ERA, though he hasn’t earned a win against the Angels since 2013. His four shutouts against Los Angeles are two more than he has totaled against any other major league team.
Colon will try to help the Rangers for the seventh time in 11 games. After scoring 16 runs in consecutive wins at Seattle, Texas took a 6-1 loss on Thursday.
Several key members of the Angels have had success against Colon, however.
Mike Trout is 10-for-18 against Colon with three home runs. Andrelton Simmons is 12-for-26, and Albert Pujols is 8-for-25 with three home runs.
Colon will be making the 538th start of his career, tying Red Ruffing for 32nd on the all-time major league list. He’ll be aiming for his 243rd win, which would tie Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for 54th on the all-time list.
Colon can also tie Marichal for the most wins among pitchers born in the Dominican Republic.
Barria, who will turn 22 on July 18, was recalled Saturday from Triple-A Salt Lake for the fourth time this season. He’ll try to lift the Angels from a skid that’s seen them lose 11 of their past 16 games, including three of four at the Detroit Tigers and four of five since Trout went 5-for-5 in an 11-4 win over the New York Yankees on Saturday.
They were one game back of the Houston Astros for the AL West lead May 15, but enter Friday 5 1/2 games back of the first-place Astros and 4 1/2 games behind the second-place Mariners.
Barria (4-1, 2.97), who was born July 18, 1996, has the best ERA of any starter for the Angels this season. He’s benefited from exceptional offensive support as the Angels have scored at least seven runs in four of his six starts this season, including Saturday when he settled down after starting the game by allowing solo homers to Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge.
One bright spot from the series in Detroit was the offense provided by veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler, who went 9-for-14 in the three games, raising his season average from .178 to .217.
“There’s no doubt that Ian’s seeing the ball better,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters after the 6-2 loss Thursday, “I think he’s found his timing. Hopefully it’ll be a sign of good things to come, because he’s going to be important to us.”