Oswalt not quite himself in Phillies debut
WASHINGTON -- Philadelphia Phillies starter Roy Halladay answers to "Roy'' for four straight days, then morphs into "Doc'' when it's his turn to pitch. According to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Kyle Kendrick goes by "LeRoy,'' even though his middle name is Rodney.Just for the sake of minimizing confusion, the Phillies might want to think up a new and more distinctive moniker for Roy Oswalt, the latest addition to their starting rotation. Based on the events of Friday night, it might be wise to hold off on "Savior.'' Or "Lucky.''
“"He was throwing 92-94 [mph], but it didn't look like he had much deception, and he didn't have a strikeout pitch. He had to throw a lot of breaking balls because he lacked fastball command, and he didn't have a swing-and-miss breaking ball.'' It was that kind of night all around. In the third inning, Oswalt hit an opposite-field line drive for an apparent base hit. But Nationals right fielder Roger Bernadina, playing shallow, came up throwing and nailed him at first base by a step. Once Oswalt's new teammates get to know him better, they might subject him to some ribbing for being on the wrong end of a 9-3 putout. "It's not fair when a pitcher gets penalized for a good single,'' Phillies closer Brad Lidge joked. "Roy's a pretty good hitter. He's going to have to start turning on balls and back-legging some home runs.'' Of course, this isn't the Roy Oswalt who posted a 143-82 record and made three All-Star Games as an Astro, and the Phillies are happy to give him a mulligan. Lidge knows Oswalt from their six seasons together in Houston, and Rollins and Shane Victorino played with him on Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Starting Saturday, Oswalt can exhale, and his fellow Phillies will do their best to welcome him to the fraternity and ease his comfort level. "Nobody wanted to talk to him today, obviously,'' Cole Hamels said, "so we'll get to know him tomorrow. Things can get back to normal. I've heard great things about him. He's a quality person on and off the field.'' On the subject of nicknames, how long will it take until some enterprising headline writer refers to the Halladay-Hamels-Oswalt combination as H2O? While Oswalt adapts to this new chapter in Philadelphia, he's seeing his baseball career flash before his eyes. On Thursday, he said goodbye to the only franchise he had ever known. On Friday, he learned that Lance Berkman -- the face of the Houston organization since Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio left town -- was on the verge of becoming a New York Yankee. The two are sufficiently close that Berkman was the first person that Oswalt called when he learned he had been traded to Philadelphia. "I think it'll be good for Lance,'' Oswalt said. "Sometimes you get into a rut doing the same thing over and over, and I think it will be great for him to get back into a pennant race and feel the excitement of it.'' Oswalt could just as easily have been referring to a certain 6-foot, 190-pound right-hander who now pitches for the Phillies. He's already feeling the excitement over his new baseball home. All he has to do now is give the Phillies a glimpse of the real Roy Oswalt.
I didn't see the kind of stuff you expect to see from Roy Oswalt. I always remember him having a lot of movement, and tonight his ball didn't have much tail or sink to it. There just wasn't much life on his pitches.” -- A scout at Friday's game