The Roy Oswalt tracker has been broken. Lucky for you, it is back with impeccable timing. As the Rockies begin a homestand bringing a couple of NL East teams into the Mile High questions will start to rise about when the wily old right-hander will finally make his debut in Coors Field. Some may say to just hold your horses.
Oswalt has spent a few weeks down in Tulsa with the Rockies AA-affiliate and the results have been less then spectacular even if they are expected. In 4 starts and 25 innings Oswalt has a 2-2 record but sports a respectable 2.88 ERA. He has allowed 19 hits and has 18 strikeouts, but has given up 5 home runs. Is now a good time to remind you that these stats are against AA talent?
Now without getting too worked up let’s remember that a lot of times AA is where the real talent lies, as AAA can be reserved for the 40-man roster reserves (like Ian Stewart and his stupidly huge mouth) and the older vets that have no reason to be sent down but can’t come up. But all things considered it would be a lot more comforting to see Oswalt completely dominate these young guns. That is not happening. In fact, the opposite is true. Looking at my favorite pitching stat, FIP (fielding independent pitching), Oswalt is throwing an astronomical 5.08 with the Drillers. Yikes. For those needing a refresher, think of FIP as a pure ERA — Roy’s FIP shows that his pitching has been downright awful.
It will be hard to keep a veteran like Oswalt down in the minor league ranks for too long, though 5 home runs in 25 innings pitched is not going to look any better in the vacuum that is Coors Field. The Rockies have Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa due up in their rotation, with Thursday’s day game finale against the Nationals still up in the air. It could be assumed that Jeff Francis should have his turn here, though his leash is probably extremely short. In all estimates it is doubtful that the Rockies will rush Oswalt up to the major league roster, but Thursday’s game would be an ok time to test out the veteran’s arm if he says he is ready.
Pitching has been a pleasant surprise for the Rockies so far this season, with the team posting a 4.02 ERA so far this year, a 3.72 FIP, and the 6th best WAR rating in the League. But with a bullpen hampered with injuries and a makeshift starting rotation fans have to wonder how long this can last? That question has every Rockies fan hoping that Roy Oswalt finds his magic soon and brings it on up to Denver.