Results tagged ‘ Roy Oswalt ’

Oswalt put on a show Wednesday

Roy Oswalt contends he’s not thinking at all about his recent trade request, and there’s no reason to believe otherwise. He made his first start Wednesday since news of the trade request became public and he pitched like a man trying to impress potential suitors.

Oswalt ran his string of quality starts to begin the season to 10, putting him one shy of the club record. He held the Brewers to four hits — three doubles and a single — and struck out nine batters. Oswalt fanned each spot in the Brewers’ batting order once.

The Astros might be more reluctant to trade Oswalt than his desire to be dealt, and the price will be steep. With each quality start Oswalt piles up, he becomes a hotter commodity, if that’s even possible. He’s pitching some of the best ball of his career at this point and he’s healthy, so there’s plenty of reasons teams will want him.

Plus, he’s Roy Oswalt. The track record speaks for itself.

Finding a team that can afford him and would be suitable enough for Oswalt to waive his no-trade clause will be a challenge, and frankly the thought of him not pitching in this rotation is a little scary. That being said, the way Oswalt is pitching and considering he wants out, Astros fans need to enjoy each and every one of his upcoming outings, especially if they are anywhere as good as he was against the Brewers.

Berkman dropped to fifth in order

The Astros will try to break a six-game road losing streak by sending ace Roy Oswalt (2-6, 2.66 ERA) to the mound tonight against the Brewers, who start left-hander Chris Narveson (4-1, 5.17 ERA). Lance Berkman is hitting fifth in the order for the first time since June 27, 2009. He’s hit third 19 times and fourth 12 times this year.

It’s Oswalt’s first start since it became public he wants the Astros try to trade him, but the 32-year-old right-hander said Tuesday it will be business as usual.

Oswalt has produced a quality start in each of his previous nine outings this season, the
most to start a season since Roger Clemens began the 2005 season with nine consecutive. The last Astros pitcher to produce 10 consecutive quality starts to begin a season was Bob Knepper in 1988, and the franchise record is 11 in a row to start the year.

The Astros are hitting .218 on the road this year.

Here are the lineups:

ASTROS

CF Michael Bourn — Went 0-for-4 on Tuesday to snap eight-game hitting streak

2B Jeff Keppinger — This will be his 28th start at 2B, which sets a career high

RF Hunter Pence — Hitting .317 with 5 HRs, 13 RBIs, last 15 games

LF Carlos Lee — Hitting .159 in last 12 games

1B Lance Berkman — Needs two walks to be 17th switch-hitter to reach 1,000 in career

3B Pedro Feliz — His .171 batting average in May is a career low for the month

C Humberto Quintero — Has hit safely in 12 of last 14 games with a plate appearance

SS Tommy Manzella — Has reached base safely with hit or walk in 10 of last 11 games

P Roy Oswalt — His 15-20 record in May is the only month in which he has losing record

BREWERS

2B Rickie Weeks

CF Carlos Gomez

LF Ryan Braun

1B Prince Fielder

3B Casey McGehee

RF Corey Hart

C George Kottaras

SS Alcides Escobar

P Chris Narveson

Where will Oswalt wind up?

First and foremost, Roy Oswalt wants to be dealt to a winner. He doesn’t want any part of a team in last place — New York Mets — or a younger up-and-coming club that likely won’t contend for a year or two. Oswalt feels he’s running out of time and he wants to win. Now.

So where will he wind up after asking last week the Astros trade him? Oswalt is in the fourth year of a five-year, $73-million contract that is paying him $15 this year and will pay $16 million next year. That’s a lot of money and a sum that few teams will be able to take on. Finding a team in contention, that can afford that money and has the prospects the Astros want to trade for will make it that much more difficult.

The Atlanta Braves are an interesting option. They began the year with an $84 million payroll and are 3 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the NL East. The Braves have some great young players in Jason Heyward, Tommy Hanson and Brian McCann and some veterans like Chipper Jones who are vying for one more ring. They also have a strong farm system and would be able to pony up some prospects, not to mention it’s close to Oswalt’s home in Mississippi.

The St. Louis Cardinals, currently tied for the NL Central lead with Cincinnati, certainly won’t sit tight if they’re in trouble of making the playoffs and would love to add Oswalt to a rotation that already includes Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. But would the Astros be willing to trade Oswalt within in the division? That’s risky.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres are interesting options on the West Coast, but the Dodgers’ unstable ownership situation clouds things. Can either team afford Oswalt’s salary at this point? The Minnesota Twins might have some interest, but their payroll already took a huge jump this year with the signing of Joe Mauer, and I really can’t see Oswalt pitching in Minnesota.

Perhaps the first-place Cincinnati Reds will trade for him just so they don’t have to face him anymore.

And now for the giant elephant in the room. What about the Texas Rangers? That would seem to be the best fit. The Rangers’ Minor League system is loaded, they are in first place, Oswalt would be reuinted with Nolan Ryan and it would allow him to stay relatively close to home. But…

The Rangers’ ownership situation remains unstable, and pitching in the heat of the summer sun in Arlington is sure to take its toll. Besides, remember how unpopular it was the last time the Astros allowed an ace pitcher to go to the Rangers (Nolan Ryan in 1989)?

The bottom line is trading Oswalt isn’t going to be easy, but it’s almost a necessity at this point for the club. The team has acknowledged he wants a trade and Oswalt has said he wants to play for a winner. Now it’s just a matter of where and when. 

 

Oswalt speaks

Roy Oswalt had some very interesting things to say in his first comments since the club admitted he had requested a trade. Click here for full story: http://bit.ly/dbKhJ0

Roy O is taking on new meaning

Remember last year when Roy Oswalt‘s biggest problem was a club-record 16 no-decisions? Those were the good times.

The lack of run support for Oswalt this season has been nothing short of shocking. Oswalt has given the Astros nine quality starts out of the chute and is stuck with a 2-6 record despite a 2.66 ERA that’s among the best in the league. Sure, Oswalt has started games against Tim Lincecum (twice), Roy Halladay and Ubaldo Jimenez, but there was also a Bronson Arroyo and Ian Kennedy in the mix.

Considering the Astros are last in the NL in nearly every major offensive category, the abysmal run support shouldn’t be surprising. Still, it’s even more egregious when Oswalt is on the mound. The Astros have scored four runs in 39 innings this year in Oswalt’s six losses and have been shut out in two of his nine starts and held to two runs or fewer four other times.

Oswalt, who expressed some frustration last week in San Francisco after giving up two runs in seven innings in his second loss of the season to Lincecum, said all the right things after getting beat by Jimenez and the Rockies on Thursday. But no one summed up Oswalt’s plight better than teammate Michael Bourn.

“You feel for somebody like that, who’s going out there and throwing hard and has been putting in all the work and not saying anything about it, but you know it hurts,” Bourn said. “I would be hurt if I were the ace and we weren’t getting any runs behind him.

“He’s got all the right to be mad if he wants to. He deserves to win. He should be 5-1, 6-1, easily, just like Lincecum and Halladay. We’ve just got to put up some runs for him. You give him a comfortable lead, two or three runs, and he doesn’t have to be as fine. He doesn’t think he has to do this and do that and can just go out there and pitch.”

Oswalt’s next start should come Wednesday at Milwaukee against left-hander Chris Narveson, who’s got twice as many wins as Oswalt and double the ERA. Sometimes life — and baseball — isn’t fair.

 

Astros lineup Thursday vs. Rockies

The Astros begin the post-Kaz Matsui era tonight at Minute Maid Park in the finale of the two-game series against the Rockies. And it won’t be easy. The Rockies are throwing NL Cy Young contender Ubaldo Jimenez. The Astros will get Tampa Bay Rays, the team with the best record in the Majors, this weekend at Minute Maid Park, so the next four days will be challenging.

For Astros starter Roy Oswalt, it’s just another game against another ace. Oswalt has lost three consecutive decisions in his previous four starts despite pitching well. He held the Giants to six hits and two runs and struck out seven batters in eight innings Saturday in San Francisco but was outdueled by Tim Lincecum for the second time this year (he has also lost to Roy Halladay).

In Oswalt’s five losses this year, the Astros have scored four runs in the 33 innings he’s been on the mound. He’s dominated the Rockies in his career, going 7-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 10 starts. Oswalt faced the Rockies once last year and held them to six hits and one run and struck out eight batters in seven innings to get a win. He’s five wins away from tying Joe Niekro‘s club record of 144.

For some reason, the roof is open tonight despite temperatures around 90 degrees. Anyway, here’s the lineup for Astros manager Brad Mills:

CF Michael Bourn

2B Jeff Keppinger

1B Lance Berkman

LF Carlos Lee

RF Hunter Pence

3B Pedro Feliz

SS Tommy Manzella

C Humberto Quintero

RHP Roy Oswalt

 

Frustrations abound with Astros

The Astros had just swept the division-leading Cardinals in St. Louis and had themselves within 6 1/2 games of first place. Life was not good, but it was certainly as good as it could be for a team that endured two eight-game losing streaks in the first five weeks of the season.

But San Francisco has been nothing short of a nightmare for the Astros in recent years. They were crushed 22-0 in their first two games by the Bay last year and suffered an 8-2 loss in Friday’s series opener. Saturday’s game, which the Astros lost 2-1, brought out even more frustration.

They were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners, including leaving the bases loaded in the ninth.

The big story was Roy Oswalt. He pitched his eighth consecutive quality start to begin the season, holding the Giants to six hits and two runs on a two-run homer. Of course, he was outdueled by Giants ace Tim Lincecum, who allowed four hits, five walks and one run in eight innings.

Oswalt was clearly upset about the lack of run support.

“I knew I needed to probably throw a shutout, you know, maybe we can get one [run],” he said. “A pitch backed up on me on a slider. I was trying to go down and away, and it backed up over the plate.”

Teammate Lance Berkman was asked point-blankly what he thought of Oswalt’s comments about the lack of run support: “We’re a team, you know what I’m saying?” he said. “As much as you want to cry for a guy not getting run support, it’s a team game. We win as a team, we lose as a team, and we lost today. I certainly understand his frustration, but it’s not like we’re not trying. We’re out there grinding them out and trying to score some runs, and it hasn’t happened.”

And with that, the 13-23 Astros will try to beat Barry Zito, who’s 5-1 with a 1.90 ERA, in Sunday’s series finale.

Astros lineup Saturday vs. Giants

The Astros, who lost to the Giants 8-2 on Friday night, will battle San Francisco again at 3:10 p.m. today in a terrific pitching match-up between Roy Oswalt and Tim Lincecum. Oswalt is 2-4 with a 2.63 ERA, but has seven quality starts. Lincecum, who beat Oswalt on Opening Day, is 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA.

Oswalt is the only pitcher with seven quality starts in all seven of his outings. It’s the most quality starts to begin a season for an Astros starter since Roger Clemens began the 2005 season with nine. He has received the second-lowest run support in the NL at 2.44 runs. Teammate Felipe Paulino has received the lowest run support.

Oswalt was great at AT&T Park last year, alowing one run on three hits in eight innings to rescue the Astros after they had been outscored 22-0 in the first two games of the series. He’s 5-6 in his career against San Francisco.

The Astros didn’t have Lance Berkman in the lineup when they lost to the Giants on Opening Day, and Berkman is on fire. He’s 9-for-18 with five runs scored, four walks, three doubles, two homers and five RBIs in his last five games, and Hunter Pence has also caught fire. He has a six-game hiting streak (.440) and has homers in four of his last five games. He’s hitting .333 in his last 17 games.

Here’s the Astros’ lineup:

CF Michael Bourn

2B Kaz Matsui

1B Lance Berkman

LF Carlos Lee

RF Hunter Pence

3B Pedro Feliz

C Humberto Quintero

SS Tommy Manzella

P Roy Oswalt

Where do the Astros go from here?

J.R. Towles may have played his last game in an Astros uniform, and Roy Oswalt might wish he had. Towles admitted he was upset upon learning Tuesday he was being sent to Double-A, which could pretty much signal his time in Houston is done. He said he’s not sure where he stands in the organization, but it can’t be good.

The Astros, not surprisingly, are in need of a veteran catching presence, and Kevin Cash will bring that behind the plate. He’s won World Series rings with the Red Sox and Yankees. He’s not much of a hitter, so perhaps he will fit right in.

Houston’s offensive woes are mind-boggling. The Astros are hitting .235 as a team with nine home runs and only 49 walks in 26 games. They’ve been held to two or fewer runs seven times in their eight-game losing streak and 15 time this season.

How is it possible that Carlos Lee (.198, no home runs), Hunter Pence (.215) and Lance Berkman (.200) are all struggling at the same time? Berkman missed the first 12 games and hardly got any at-bats in Spring Training, so perhaps there are some timing issues. As for Lee and Pence? Who knows.

You can’t help but feel badly for Roy Oswalt, who is pitching great to start the season. He held Arizona to five hits and one extremely long solo homer Tuesday to fall to 2-4 despite a 2.47 ERA and six quality starts in as many outings. He’s posted a 3.12 ERA in his four losses, and the club has scored only three runs during his 26 innings of work in those losses.

That would be enough to make anybody go a little crazy, or perhaps think of requesting a trade. It’s probably too early for that kind of stuff, but Oswalt left Minute Maid Park on Tuesday trying to hide his anger and frustration. He had plenty of company.

Assessing the winless Astros after one week

So what have we learned about the Astros after six games? The pitching has a chance to be OK, but they have some major offensive problems. Either everyone not named Jeff Keppinger is a slump at the same time, or this is just not a very good offensive club.

Surely, Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence, who have been at the center of the offensive struggles, can only get better, and the return of Lance Berkman – which won’t be until April 20 at the earliest – can only help stretch out the lineup a little bit.

But there remain questions at catcher, shortstop and second base. These were three spots in the batting order that were somewhat in doubt coming into the year, and J.R. Towles, Tommy Manzella and Kaz Matsui haven’t done much at the plate, not that they’re alone.

The Astros don’t expect Manzella to carry the team offensively. If everyone is hitting as they should, he’ll hit at the bottom if the lineup and make all the plays defensively like he’s done for the most part this year. Matsui needs to give them more or perhaps risk losing his job to Keppinger, who’s certainly a better offensive player and remains steady with the glove.

But what to do at catcher? Towles is hitting .067 (1-for-15) with four strikeouts and doesn’t look comfortable. It’s too early to summon Jason Castro from Triple-A Round Rock, and he’s not off to a great offensive start anyway. Like everyone else in the lineup, the Astros can only hope he turns it around and in a hurry.

Manager Brad Mills said something interesting Sunday when asked why he didn’t pinch-hit Towles with runner at first and second in the seventh inning.

“We needed to find out what’s going on here and how he’s going to do it,” Mills said.

Towles struck the ball well right back at the pitcher, but made an out.

The Astros face Adam Wainwright in Monday’s series opener in St. Louis, so they continue to see strong pitchers. Tim Lincecum shut them down Monday, and Roy Halladay threw a complete game against them Sunday, with both guys beating Roy Oswalt.

Oswalt is frustrated, understandably, and left the clubhouse with addressing the media Sunday. He has two quality starts and two losses to show for it because the Astros have scored only three runs in his two starts. It’s nothing that Oswalt hasn’t seen in the past.

Yes, there are 156 games and the offense will come around at some point, but after the first week of the season the Astros are the worst team in baseball.

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