Back problems had Roy Oswalt contemplating retirement before he eventually decided to continue pitching and signed with the Rangers, but now he’ll miss at least one start with lower back soreness.
Oswalt was scheduled to start today versus the Red Sox, but instead he’ll be examined by doctors in Houston and Scott Feldman will take his place in the rotation.
For now the Rangers are hopeful that Oswalt will avoid the disabled list and general manager Jon Daniels told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that the team was prepared for this situation when they signed the 34-year-old:
Prior to signing Roy he expressed to us what exactly is happening now. Sometimes this acts up with his lower back. If it’s the same thing he’s had in the past, and he expects it is, he believes he’ll make his next start. We’ve got to wait and see, but that’s our hope at this point.
Oswalt struggled initially upon joining the Rangers’ rotation, but has allowed just one run in back-to-back starts and his 25/6 K/BB ratio in 29 innings overall is very good.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.