Red Sox-Athletics Preview

The 40-year-old Bartolo Colon has been sensational in his 16th

big league campaign.

He appears to be just as surprised as the rest of us.

Colon caps off a remarkable first half Sunday as the Oakland

Athletics conclude a three-game set against the visiting Boston Red

Sox in a matchup of division leaders.

Colon (12-3, 2.69 ERA) has been especially good over his last 10

starts, going 9-1 with a 1.48 ERA to climb within one win of tying

Matt Moore and Max Scherzer for the most in the majors. He received

his third All-Star nod, with the previous two coming in 1998 and

2005.

“I’ve never had a year like this,” Colon, who also won the AL Cy

Young Award in 2005, told MLB’s official website. “I believe this

year is my best year. It was always in my thoughts, but I never

imagined having the kind of numbers that I do right now before the

All-Star break.”

Third in the AL in ERA, Colon outpitched fellow All-Star Jeff

Locke in Monday’s 2-1 win at Pittsburgh. The right-hander allowed

one run and seven hits in seven innings.

“He probably has one of the best personalities I’ve ever played

with,” center fielder Coco Crisp said. “He just goes about his day

and does the best he can and doesn’t let too many things bother

him. He’s been doing good for us the whole year and is fun to play

behind.”

Colon, Oakland’s lone All-Star representative, still has a

chance to pitch in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic despite starting

Sunday.

“As an organization, based on his age and where we are with him

and how much we lean on him, that we would like him to get the time

off,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Pitching on Sunday, you look at it

and say, ‘Is that prudent?’ But we’ll leave it up to him. It’s his

decision.”

Colon went the distance in a rain-shortened 13-0 win at Boston

on April 23, striking out seven over seven innings of three-hit

ball. He is 1-1 with a 1.90 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox

since 2011.

Colon has had David Ortiz’s number over the years, holding him

to six hits in 46 at-bats (.130) in their matchups. Dustin Pedroia

(2 for 13) and Jacoby Ellsbury (2 for 9) also have struggled.

After taking Friday’s opener 4-2, the Red Sox (58-38) saw their

four-game winning streak snapped Saturday with a 3-0 defeat. They

couldn’t come through against A.J. Griffin, who threw eight innings

before Grant Balfour recorded his team-record 43rd consecutive

save.

“I just tried to act like number 40 in situations like that,”

said Griffin, who worked his way out of a pair of two-on, two-out

jams. “That’s something I’ve learned a lot just watching Bartolo

pitch.”

Oakland (55-39), which is a major league-best 19-5 at home since

May 17, has 55 victories before the All-Star break for the first

time since 1975.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, give the ball to Brandon Workman (0-0,

13.50) for his first major league start. The right-hander

surrendered three runs in two innings of relief in his big league

debut Wednesday in an 11-4 win at Seattle.

Workman went 3-1 with a 2.80 ERA in six starts with Triple-A

Pawtucket before getting called up Tuesday.

“We know he’s going to throw strikes, that’s the one thing he’s

proven over his minor league career,” manager John Farrell said of

Workman, Boston’s minor league pitcher of the year last season.

“We’re looking forward to seeing him in the starter’s role.”