When Bartolo Colon tested positive for using (according to the Associated Press) testosterone, he was suspended for 50 games. Seeing that the suspension began on August 22, it effectively ended his season, if not his career.
Colon was having his most effective season since winning the 2005 Cy Young Award and was a huge boost for the Athletics' rotation. Losing him may have been a fatal blow for the young, overachieving Oakland squad.
Instead, they have won four of the first five games since the suspension and remain in place for one of the two Wild Card spots. Two of the wins came against the Rays on the road, no easy task.
The role of filling Colon's large spot in the rotation was Brett Anderson. After recovering from Tommy John surgery, Anderson made his 2012 debut the day before Colon was suspended. He won that game and last night was masterful in Cleveland.
In fact, he was perfect through 13 batters before Jerry Meals blew a call at first base, breaking up the perfect game. That is the same Jerry Meals whose grotesquely awful call ended a wonderful 19-inning game between the Pirates and Braves last year. But who remembers that?
Fortunately for Meals, Cleveland's Brett Lillibridge doubled the next inning, thus taking him off of the "Jim Joyce Blown Perfect Game" list.
Instead, the A's got seven shutouts, two-hit innings and a 3-0 win. They also have two wins and no losses from a pitcher who had not thrown an inning in the majors this season before the 21st of August.
The team is not withering from losing veterans, but rather finding new veterans to plug in the holes.