At this point I’m not really helping the team, I’m kind of a liability more than anything.
-Roy Oswalt on leaving the game with lower back tightness.
Uh oh. Roy Oswalt is and has been pitching with pain for the last few starts. I was of the mind that the diminutive right hander was building arm strength and would bounce back to what he was before his trip to the DL. Apparently, “building arm strength” is code for “pitching with a fucked up back.” I have always liked little pitchers that throw hard. My Dad always used to rave about a pitcher for the Yankees who was little and threw really hard with the nickname Louisiana Lightning. So I suppose you can trace my affinity for Roy Oswalt to Ron Guidry.
Oswalt surely has not looked like himself lately. Hopefully a few weeks off can get him straightened out after the all star break. If not, I think I will somehow find a way to blame Tony LaRussa for this. Oswalt was removed from the game after finishing the second inning after allowing four runs on five hits. He was noticeably favoring his back and although his fastball touched 93 MPH in the radar gun, he never really looked comfortable in this start.
Chris Carpenter was 1-7 before last night’s start. Carpenter is normally one of the best pitchers in baseball and his struggles this season seem to be more connected to luck than a declining skill set. He still throws pretty hard and he still has a really good curveball. This was put on display as he stifled the Phillies offense to the tune of one run in his seven inning of work. With Oswalt leaving with an injury and the offense being handled there was little to get excited about in this one.
Ryan Howard hit an RBI single off of Carpenter and Carlos Ruiz hit a solo home run off of Jason Motte to account for all of the scoring for the Phils. Carpenter avoided trouble for the majority of the night and the Cardinal bullpen avoiding completely destroying itself in the late innings.
The Philadelphia bullpen however, turned to their version of the five shit sandwiches that Tony La Russa threw out in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game; Danys Baez. It is funny how everyone backed off of Baez for a few appearances after his heroic performance in the marathon game against the Reds. With his performance last night he was squandered any sort of goodwill he earned by not sucking. One inning, one hit batter, two walks, four hits while allowing six earned runs. This may finally be the nail in the coffin of the worst pitcher on the team. Not even the worst bullpen in the majors could manage to blow a 12-2 lead.
Tomorrow the Phillies look to erase this one for their collective memory banks as they return home to face the Oakland Athletics. The Phillies send Vance Worley to the bump to oppose Guillermo Moscoso. That is a really fun name to say.