I got all excited after Roy Oswalt’s start against the Nationals. His fastball reached 94 on the radar gun and he struck out nine batters. There were times in this start that his fastball was around 90 MPH and no one was swinging and missing at it. That in itself isn’t a reason to sound the panic alarm, but coupled with the fact that he allowed five hits including a grand slam to a catcher with a .235 batting average in the sixth inning makes it slightly more disconcerting. So I don’t try to drown myself in the toilet I have convinced myself that this is merely a step toward Roy Oswalt returning to form. He missed significant time and he surely needs a few starts to get back into shape. That’s what I am sticking with.
The Marlins were hitting Oswalt early, but could only manage to push two runs across the plate. The aforementioned forgettable sixth inning ended Roy’s night. After the first two batters reached in the sixth, it looked like it was time to remove Roy from the game. The offense had generated very little off of awful major league pitcher Clay Hensley outside of a solo home run from Wilson Valdez, but with a 2-1 deficit the game was still well within reach. The grand slam made Charlie Manual’s decision to stick with Oswalt seem specious at best. This is the type of thing that is one of Charlie’s best and worst qualities. The man is loyal. There will be a time when a pitcher like Roy Oswalt will reward him for this loyalty. This was not one of those times.
The Phillies did their best to get Oswalt off the hook, managing to score four runs off of the Marlin’s bullpen. Ryan Howard greeted lefty specialist with a line drive home run in the bottom of the sixth drawing the Phillies within two runs. They added another run off Steve Cishek in the ninth inning and ended the game with two men on base. A single from Shane Victorino or Placido Polanco would have tied the game, but Victorino flied out to left and Placido Planco grounded out to short. 6-5 Phillies loss.
Some notes from this one were the fact that Ryan Howard smashed the crap out a pitch from a lefty and the crowd gave Cliff Lee a standing ovation for pinch running.
Next up, Hurricane.