Friday, July 30, 2010

Oswalt struggles in Phillies debut but there is no reason to overreact

As Phillies fans, we've grown accustomed to our newly acquired aces having impressive debuts with our team. About a year ago, it was Cliff Lee who pitched a complete game 4-hitter and gave up only 1 run. Then, on Opening Day this season, Roy Halladay threw a gem of his own, striking out 9 batters and giving up 1 run in 7 innings. Fast forward to tonight's Phillies debut by Roy Oswalt, though, and you saw a much different outcome: Oswalt struggled against the Nationals, giving up 5 runs (4 earned) and 7 hits in 6 innings of work as the Phillies win streak came to an end. That's not what I would call a good first impression on his new team.

Most of you know, however, that there is no reason to panic. In Oswalt, the Phillies have acquired a known commodity who has established himself as an above average pitcher, not someone who is going to fizzle out and be terrible for the entire second half of a season. These types of starts happen to every pitcher, even Lee and Halladay, who weren't dominant pitchers every time they took the mound for the Phillies. For example, take a look back at three starts Lee made back in late August and early September of last season where pitched a total of 15 innings and gave up 17 earned runs. Even our beloved Roy Halladay has also had four starts this season where he gave up 5 or more runs.

My point isn't that Lee and Halladay aren't stud pitchers, though, my point is that bad games happen to every pitcher. You can chalk it up to nerves, chalk it up to trying too hard to impress his new team or just simply say that Oswalt had an off night; whatever the case, don't overreact to this one start and compare it to how J.A. Happ did in his Houston debut (0 runs in 6 innings) and rant about how the Phillies made a bad trade. Bad starts happen to good pitchers and Oswalt is going to do just fine with the Phillies.

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