It's now official. Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt plans to waive his no-trade clause, allowing a deal that would send him to the Philadelphia Phillies for J.A. Happ, and prospects Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar.
Most see this as a move that solidifies the Phillies as playoff favorites. They're starting to hit again, will get Chase Utley back from injury soon, and now have a consistent No. 2 starter behind ace Roy Halladay.
However, if Philadelphia wants to return to October glory, they'll need to make at least one or two more moves before the July 31st deadline. Roy Oswalt will not single-handedly lead them to greatness.
As of today, the Phillies trail the Atlanta Braves by 3.5 games. Roy Oswalt is atrocious against Atlanta. You do the math.
If the Phillies want back in the National League East race, Oswalt will have to have some success against the team Philadelphia trails in the standings, something he hasn't managed to do so far.
Over his 10-year career, all of which has been spent with the Astros, Oswalt has been hammered by the Braves, who bat .354/.388/.543 against him. Against Atlanta, he is 0-3 with an ERA of 7.58, with a ghastly 1.787 WHIP. At Turner Field, Oswalt is 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA. Needless to say, he's struggled against Atlanta.
His only success against the Braves came in the 2005 playoffs, when he gave up just three runs in 11.1 innings, so it's possible he could hang with the NL East leaders.
The two other teams Philadelphia must compete with for positioning, not only in the East, but in the Wild Card race, are the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants.
Oswalt's numbers against New York and San Francisco are not as horrible as those against Atlanta, but they are more pedestrian compared to his usual stuff.
For his career against New York, Oswalt is 5-5 with a 3.68 ERA. His .300 BAbip against New York suggests that those numbers have little to do with luck. His 2.88 K/BB ratio against the Mets is third worst among all National League teams he's faced, behind only San Francisco and division rival Florida.
Against San Francisco, Oswalt has had moderate success. His ERA 3.59 is nothing to sneeze at, but his 2.88 K/BB ratio and 6.0 K/9 ratios against San Francisco are worst among all National League teams he's faced. His .312 BAbip indicates a bit of bad luck, but when you don't strike hitters out, they put the ball in play, and that leads to more hits.
In fact, the right hander has always struggled against playoff teams. Against teams above .500, Oswalt has a 3.86 ERA, a far cry from his domination of sub-.500 teams, which he holds to a paltry 2.77 ERA.
Of course, most pitchers are worse against worse teams. That goes without saying. But against teams with a winning record, Oswalt has been less than mediocre, going 47-49.
I'm not at all saying this was a bad acquisition. It was a steal for what Philadelphia gave up, but if the Philllies manage to make the playoffs in 2010, it will be because of a resurgent offense powered by the returning Chase Utley, and because of ace Roy Halladay, not because of Roy Oswalt.