Baseball is a game of inches, with nuances and quirks scattered among the nine innings of any given game. There will always be a bundle of “what if” questions after a game ends.
In this case two such questions make us wonder if things could have been different for starting pitcher Roy Oswalt on Sunday afternoon in a loss against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rockies lost 6-1 and Oswalt is on his way to the disabled list with a strained left hamstring that he suffered in the second inning. So here are the two questions:
What if home plate umpire Dale Scott had called strike three on a vicious curve ball thrown one pitch prior to the injury? Oswalt hit his exact spot on a snappy hook that Jason Kubel could only look at. It was off the corner, but Oswalt visibly wanted strike three and hitters have been rung up on worse calls. Alas, it was called a ball, and on the next pitch Oswalt was covering the plate on a wild pitch when he injured himself.
Secondly: what if Wilin Rosario had blocked the ball and kept it in front of him? At the very least Oswalt would have stayed in the game, and his stuff appeared to be on track. The hitter before Kubel was Miguel Montero, whom Oswalt K’ed on a nasty fastball up under the hands. Then Oswalt made great pitches to Kubel before the play that went awry. If Oswalt had been able to stay in this game, there is at least a chance that he could have pitched well and finally started to build some momentum to make contributions this season.
To be fair, he might have also stayed in the game and gotten shellacked once again. Considering how this weekend’s series played out, that might have been the more likely scenario.
Oswalt told reporters after the game that he “heard a pop,” so he is surely headed to the disabled list. He might be out for a while, and frankly we might have seen the last of him in a Rockies uniform. That means that either Juan Nicasio or Jeff Francis might make a return to the rotation sooner than expected. So that’s neat.
One other bit of injury news from Sunday: Carlos Gonzalez exited the game with a finger injury sustained on an awkward swing. X-rays were negative and CarGo hopes to play in Monday night’s game against the Padres.
Can we just have a do-over on this weekend? Please?