San Francisco Giants

Giants’ Hudson, Mets’ Colon a pitching matchup for the ages

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bartolo Colon made his major-league debut on April 4, 1997, as a 23-year-old right-hander for the Cleveland Indians. Two months later, Tim Hudson was drafted in the sixth round by the Oakland A’s, for whom the right-hander made his MLB debut in June 1999, also at the age of 23.

Two of the majors’ longest-tenured starting pitchers will oppose each other tonight in San Francisco, still pitching effectively at the ages of 41 (Colon) and 38 (Hudson, coming off 2013 ankle surgery).

Hudson has the lowest ERA in the majors at 1.75, and is one of only three Giants pitchers in the San Francisco era to have a sub-2.00 ERA through his first 11 starts with the team. Colon, meanwhile, is 5-5 with a 4.52 ERA, but he has a 1.61 ERA in his last three starts and has won all three.

Both are known as quick workers and throw fastballs with movement a high percentage of the time, but that’s about where their similarities end. Giants manager Bruce Bochy pointed out that Hudson’s fastball is more of a sinking pitch -- and he complements it with an assortment of breaking pitches -- while Colon relies primarily on a harder fastball that has more cutting or running movement.

It’s still an intriguing matchup between two guys who have combined for 405 wins in the majors (Hudson with 211, Colon closing in on a milestone with 194). Here’s the Giants’ lineup against Colon:

CF Pagan

RF Pence

C Posey

3B Sandoval

1B Morse

LF Colvin

SS Crawford

2B Hicks

P Hudson

And the Mets’ lineup against Hudson:

CF den Dekker

2B Murphy

3B Wright

RF Granderson

LF Young

1B Duda

SS Tejada

C Recker

P Colon

* Reliever Santiago Casilla threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session today and "came out of it well," Bochy said. Casilla also ran 30- and 60-yard striders to test his right hamstring. Bochy said Casilla will have a day off before throwing a longer bullpen, "then we’ll re-evaluate him, and there’s a good chance he could start his rehab if all goes well."

Ideally, Bochy said, Casilla will start his rehab assignment late next week. That would typically mean three or four outings, with Casilla showing he can pitch on back-to-back days and throw multiple innings, but Bochy said the Giants might not need to check off all those boxes because it was Casilla’s leg that was injured, not his arm.

* Brandon Belt, who had the pins removed from his fractured thumb Friday, is going to start ramping up his conditioning and could resume baseball activities within a week, Bochy said. Belt has been doing light conditioning and taking one-arm swings, but the Giants would like to "see if we can speed up this process," Bochy said.

* Buster Posey’s home run Friday night was his first in 93 at-bats, a stretch that included Posey missing time with back tightness. While Posey is never one to lack for confidence, Bochy said snapping the homerless streak likely was a shot in the arm for the catcher.

"I think so," Bochy said. "With the nagging lower-back injury, I think it did slow him down a little bit, and I think (the home run) gave him a sense of confidence of hey, I’m fine, I’m good to go, I can let it go."

* No particular reason for starting Tyler Colvin in left field tonight over Gregor Blanco, Bochy said. Neither has extensive experience against Colon, and while Blanco has been swinging the bat better, Bochy said he decided to go with Colvin on a "hunch."

Bochy also played a hunch in Cincinnati starting Juan Perez against lefty Tony Cingrani, and that worked out pretty well.

* It’s apparently Superhero Night here at AT&T Park, so Bochy was asked if he had a favorite superhero growing up.

"I was a big Superman guy," Bochy said. "As far as comics, I enjoyed reading them all when I was young. But I think Superman was my guy."

So there you have it.