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Roy Oswalt's First Start an Encouraging Sign for the Texas Rangers

Roy Oswalt pitched into the seventh inning in his first start since last October.
Roy Oswalt pitched into the seventh inning in his first start since last October.Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
Danny WebsterAnalyst IIIJune 23, 2012

Forget the fact that the Colorado Rockies have lost 13 of their last 15 games and forget that they are missing their best player in Troy Tulowitzki.

Roy Oswalt's first start in a Texas Rangers uniform was a very positive sign for the struggling Texas rotation.

After making four starts in the minors—capped off with a 100-pitch performance in a victory—Oswalt went 6.2 innings and struck out six batters while allowing nine hits for his 160th win of his career, and improved to 9-2 all-time against Colorado.

With the Rangers now having won seven games in a row and taking advantage of teams that they should be beating in their interleague schedule, this stretch won't mean anything unless they can beat the AL teams that are in top form in mid-season contention.

But it's encouraging to see Oswalt perform the way he did considering he hasn't pitched since Game 4 of last year's NLDS when his Philadelphia Philies played St. Louis.

The 34-year-old veteran had his fastball going at a very accurate rate, as well as clocking in at around 90 MPH every time he threw it. His trademark curveball confused almost every Colorado hitter and had a slope that broke so effectively that you didn't know when it was going to drop into the glove of Yorvit Torrealba.

It was clear that his last performance for Triple-A Round Rock carried over to Friday night, especially in the pitch count. Oswalt threw 110 pitches into the seventh inning, with 81 (a remarkable 74 percent) of them for strikes.

Not a bad outing for his first time in an American League uniform.

The only negative portion of his outing was allowing back-to-back base hits—a triple by Dexter Fowler and an RBI double by Marco Scutaro—that eventually lead to manager Ron Washington pulling him from the game, exiting with a standing ovation from a jam-packed crowd in Arlington.

Nevertheless, along with the home runs by Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli, Oswalt did more than enough to get his first victory of the season and keep the Rangers rolling along.

It's impossible to give him any less than an A for his performance. He was fairly accurate throughout the night and made the Rockies' bats look foolish on more than one occasion.

The true test will come in the finale of the three-game set with the Detroit Tigers, as Oswalt is projected to be the starter against a team who has won five of their last eight coming into the weekend. If he can control that dangerous middle of the lineup, things will start to be looking up for Oswalt and the rotation.

"These guys have been rolling," Oswalt said after the game, via the Associated Press (h/t SI.com). "I was just trying to keep it going."

You've done your part in the opening act, Roy. Now let's see if you can keep it up all the way until October.

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