Roy Oswalt was a little shaky in his recent minor league tuneup starts, posting a 5.87 ERA over 15 1/3 innings between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock, but he rendered any concerns meaningless last night.
Oswalt was very impressive in his Rangers’ debut, allowing just one run over 6 1/3 innings as part of a 4-1 victory over the Rockies. It was his first start in a major league game since Game 4 of the NLDS against the Cardinals last year. The 34-year-old right-hander scattered nine hits while striking out six and walking just one. He didn’t allow a run until his 110th and final pitch of the evening via an RBI double by Marco Scutaro in the top of the seventh inning.
According to Brooks Baseball, Oswalt’s fastball topped out at 93.1 mph and averaged 91.5 mph, which was nearly identical to his average velocity last season with the Phillies. However, that’s still a tick below his career average of 92.9 mph. It will be interesting to see how Oswalt fares in his first go-around in the American League, especially coming off a season where he posted his lowest strikeout and swinging strike rate of his career, but he should be a stabilizing force for a rotation which has already battled numerous injuries and features a rookie pitcher, Yu Darvish, who is trying to find his way in his first season stateside.
The Royals are a game and a half out of the crazy AL Wild Card race — six games back of the Indians in the division — so they don’t have a huge margin for error. They got some bad news last night, though, that could have a major impact on their playoff hopes: closer Kelvin Herrera experienced tightness in his right forearm in the ninth inning of last night’s win, forcing him out of the game.
Herrera walked the bases loaded, then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter before leaving the game. That last pitch was a fastball that clocked in at 91 m.p.h., which is NOT a typical Kelvin Herrera fastball. Herrera didn’t talk after the game but his teammate Sal Perez said that Herrera told him “I’m tight. I don’t feel my forearm.”
Reporters left the clubhouse before an official diagnosis or prognosis could be delivered, so expect an update some time today. If Herrera is out the closer duties could fall to Scott Alexander or Brandon Maurer.
Albert Pujols had a big night last night, driving in four runs as the Angels beat the Rangers 10-1. Three of those runs came on a three-run homer. That was the 610th home run of Pujols’ career, snapping a tie for eighth on the all-time list with Sammy Sosa. It also made him baseball’s all-time leader for home runs by a player born outside the U.S.
Pujols was aware of the accomplishment, of course, and noted how honored he was after the game:
”It’s pretty special. Obviously, all the great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they’ve gone through the big leagues and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling.”
After Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic, comes Rafael Palmeiro (569); Manny Ramirez (555); David Ortiz (541); Carlos Delgado (473); Jose Canseco (462); Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera (459).