We know Roy Oswalt makes the Phillies better. That’s a no-brainer. But how much better? Better enough to send them surging past the Braves and into the postseason? To answer that question, let’s look at some Random Royness:
- Oswalt in Citizens Bank Park: Oswalt has thrived in Citizens Bank Park, going 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA in four starts while giving up only one home run there in 27 innings, and that against a Phillies lineup that has been stacked for several years. In short: Oswalt loves pitching in Philly, so this will be a great fit.
- Oswalt against the Braves: As the Mets slowly fall away, the NL East is turning into a two-horse race: Phillies vs. Braves. Philly has dug itself a bit of a hole in recent weeks, but they’re on a roll right now. Still, the road to the division title goes through Atlanta, with six games against the Braves in the final two weeks of the season, including the final three games of the year. Against the Braves, however, Oswalt is not so good: 0-3 with a 7.58 ERA in seven starts. For him to be an asset rather than a liability against Atlanta down the stretch, that will have to change.
- Oswalt in the Playoffs: Say the Phillies do get into the postseason, via either the division crown or the wild card. What then? Well then you have a pretty decent Oswalt: He’s 4-0 in eight starts with a 3.66 ERA. That’s skewed a bit too by the fact that he got beat up pretty bad in his one World Series start against the White Sox in 2005. But of course we’re still dealing with a small sample size, the last data point of which was five years ago. The point here, I think, is that Oswalt has playoff experience and that can only help him and the Phillies.
OK, I’ll admit it: the reason I started in on this exercise is because I’m a shameless Braves fan who wanted an excuse to write about Oswalt’s struggles against Atlanta. But that doesn’t seem very relevant to me right now. All I’m seeing is that an already good team, on the upswing, just picked up a stud pitcher with playoff experience who does really well in his new park.
Maybe we can’t quantify what that does for the Phillies, but what it does is very, very good.