Roy Oswalt's Return Should Make Texas Rangers World Series Favorites

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJune 20, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 22: Starting pitcher Roy Oswalt #44 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch during the game against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on September 22, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

With the best record in the American League at 43-27, the Texas Rangers didn't really need a boost, but they are going to get one.

Three-time All-Star pitcher Roy Oswalt is scheduled to make his 2012 debut for the Rangers on Friday against the Colorado Rockies.

The Texas Rangers tweeted the news:

RHP Roy Oswalt will make his first start with the #Rangers on Friday vs. Colorado.

— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) June 20, 2012

Oswalt, who was signed by the Rangers last month, has not appeared in a major league game since Game 4 of the 2011 National League Division Series when he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

For his career, Oswalt has a record of 159-93 and an ERA of 3.21.

Oswalt has been building up his arm strength in the minors, where he has made four starts. He showed enough promise in his last start that the Rangers are comfortable enough to move him into their starting rotation. In that Triple-A start, he gave up two runs on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts. 

This was a marked improvement from his previous three starts in which he combined for 9.1 innings and a 7.70 ERA. 

Oswalt is likely to go through some struggles as he rounds into form, but the Rangers' record is good enough that they can withstand them.

They have had a hard time filling out their rotation anyway. He will be the ninth starting pitcher that the Rangers have used this season after having used just seven last season. 

This move will also help strengthen the Rangers bullpen. Scott Feldman, whose spot Oswalt will be taking, can now move into a relief role. 

The Rangers, who have made two consecutive World Series appearances largely based on their offense, are now adding a potentially elite pitcher to a rotation that already features Colby Lewis, Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison.

This is a potentially dominant four-man group that will help the Rangers go from runners-up to champions.