It was easy to see what the problem was with Jesus Colome on Wednesday. Fans could see it, scouts could see it and the Oakland A's definitely could see it.
No matter how hard he throws, he can't get by with only fastballs.
The A's turned on several of Colome's 95-mph fastballs and turned what looked like a second straight Devil Rays victory into a disheartening 6-3 defeat.
"Colome's got to start using his breaking ball," manager Lou Piniella said. "He's got a good arm but he's got to use his pitches. You've got to pitch up here. You can't just throw."
The Rays led 3-1 in the sixth as Joe Kennedy made a relatively successful return from the disabled list, they cobbled three hits and an errant Oakland throw into two runs in the second and Toby Hall homered in the sixth, his first RBI since June 10.
But the end of Kennedy's day (five innings, six hits, one run, zero shoulder problems) was the start of the Rays' trouble.
Al Levine, who has pitched so well his name is starting to surface in trade rumors, gave up a two-out homer to Terrence Long and a double to backup catcher Adam Melhuse.
That led to Colome, who has had three consecutive rough outings after a strong 10-week run.
Eric Byrnes ripped Colome's first pitch to left to score the tying run, and it got worse the next inning. Colome walked leadoff man Erubiel Durazo, then allowed a bloop double to Miguel Tejada and a sacrifice fly to former Ray Dave McCarty, making it 4-3. After an intentional walk to Eric Chavez, Adam Piatt lined a double into left-centerfield that made it 6-3, and over.
"We get two quick outs in the sixth and before you know it they tie the ballgame," Piniella said. "Then we start the seventh with a leadoff walk, a little blooper and before you know it they've got three more."
Piniella said that there is nothing wrong with the pitches Colome is throwing, just that he isn't throwing the right pitches.
"The only thing I see is that anybody that watches him in the stands, any advance scout, will tell you, "Just sit on a fastball,' " Piniella said.
"You've got to get people off the fastball. He's got a good 95-mph fastball but it is more effective if you use your other pitches. He's got a slider and he's got a changeup and he's got to use them. That's the only way he's going to get better."
Colome and Hall both said they were aware of the problem. Neither had a good explanation why it went on for two innings.
"I threw too many fastballs today," Colome said. "I threw like 25 pitches today (23) and I threw like 25 fastballs; every pitch I threw was a fastball. I feel good throwing my breaking ball. I don't know what happened today."
Hall said Colome was getting behind on hitters and forcing himself into too many fastball counts, but he agreed the pitch-calling patterns have to be changed.
"Jesus is lights out when he shows his other pitches, even for show. It doesn't matter if they're balls or strikes," Hall said. "That's what we're going to try to get him back doing. When a hitter's just thinking about a fastball the confidence is there. They weren't late with anything; they were pulling it and hitting it hard. "That's why Randy Johnson and Billy Wagner are so effective; they throw hard but they have another couple pitches. To hit a 97-mph fastball is tough when you're thinking about two other pitches."