“You keep looking at him and wondering when it’s not going to happen anymore,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I’m not sure anyone has any idea. I think it’s going to be there for a long time.”

Colon snags grounder, starts DP

Colon snags grounder, starts DP

MIN@NYM: Colon snags ground ball, starts pretty DP

Bartolo Colon shows off the quick reflexes, snagging Jorge Polanco’s grounder to start the slick 1-6-3 double play to end the top of the 1st

Actually inefficient early in Friday’s game, Colon threw 54 pitches over his first three innings. But he escaped the first thanks to his whirling, gymnastic double play, which he joked afterward was routine. Colon later escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third inning and picked Max Kepler off base in the fourth, before growing deadly efficient — over his final four innings, he threw 40 pitches, carving up 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

“It’s the same as all my other starts,” Colon said. “I’m pitching the exact same way.”

Colon nabs Kepler after review

Colon nabs Kepler after review

MIN@NYM: Colon picks off Kepler at first after review

Max Kepler is called safe at first after Bartolo Colon’s pickoff attempt, but after the Mets challenge, the call is overturned in the 4th

It’s Colon’s ability to do that not just start after start, but month after month and year after year, that has elevated his career to its current state. Colon is not just serving as rotation depth for the Mets, but he has also become one of their best starting pitching options. His 232 career wins rank third-most all time by a Latin American-born pitcher, trailing only Dennis Martinez (245) and Juan Marichal (243). And Colon, who has recorded 47 of those victories since turning 40, has shown no signs of slowing.

It’s a nice story, but more importantly for the Mets, it’s a necessary one. Originally re-signing Colon to be a rotation stopgap until Zack Wheeler returned from Tommy John surgery, the Mets have instead leaned on Colon every fifth game all summer. That his best run of the season has coincided with the absences of Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz may be coincidence, but it’s a coincidence that kept the Mets’ season afloat.

Now, with deGrom due back Sunday and Matz potentially right behind him, the Mets can spread out some responsibility within this pennant chase. Not that Colon plans on doing anything other than what he has been all summer.

“With all that’s happened this year, if we didn’t have him in our rotation,” Collins said, “I’m not sure where we’d be right now.”

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Mets News / Colon anchoring Mets’ rotation with depth, stability