Roy Oswalt looked like a new man when the Phillies acquired him last July. He left a team headed nowhere for a team headed to the postseason. He went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 13 appearances to finish the regular season and 1-1 with a 2.75 ERA in the postseason.
He went 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his first four starts this season, but has not been the same since leaving the team in late April to attend to family matters in Mississippi and landing on the disabled list with inflammation in his back. He is 1-5 with a 4.17 ERA in his last eight starts. He is not throwing as hard as earlier in the season. He has fewer strikeouts.
“I think about that sometimes,” Charlie Manuel said. “I think his fastball, I think you’ll see him come out pretty soon and his fastball will be back where it was. I think there comes a time when the fastball – not all of it is there. It’s just kind of how your arm feels and how you’re throwing it at the time, kind of like a hitter not hitting. I think it’s just a matter of time before you see his fastball jump up. There’s nothing wrong with the way he’s throwing. I think that’s going to come.”
Oswalt actually has a 3.40 ERA since returning from the DL. He has pitched well enough to win more than a few of those starts, but has had almost no help from the offense. From May 17 through last night, Oswalt ranks 113th out of 123 qualifying pitchers in baseball averaging just 1.91 runs of support per nine innings. His counterparts in the rotation have had a much better time in that same span: Cole Hamels ranks 31st (5.73), Roy Halladay ranks 40th (5.23) and Cliff Lee ranks 41st (5.16). But Oswalt also ranks 102nd in baseball, averaging 13.82 base runners per nine innings. To put that into perspective, he finished second in baseball last season, averaging just 9.44 base runners per nine innings. (Only Lee was better at 9.07.)
It’s tough to say how Oswalt is feeling these days. He’s pretty mild mannered.
Is he having as much fun as last year?
“Yeah,” he said flatly.