SAN DIEGO -- Roy Oswalt started his 16th regular-season game as a Phillie on Thursday night. There is no milestone about it. We just have approximately a half-season's worth of data on Oswalt, making some reflection possible.
The numbers are impressive.
The Phillies have won 13 of those games started by Oswalt. He, personally, has won 10 of them. Only once has he failed to pitch at least six innings and that was Sept. 28, 2010 -- the day after the Phillies clinched the National League East and he was limited to 67 pitches on purpose.
His ERA in starts as a Phillie is 1.70.
His worst start was his first one, which happened 24 hours after he was traded to the Phillies but still took his turn in the rotation having barely met his new teammates.
Since then, he has kept the Phillies in every single game he's pitched, allowing two or fewer runs in 13 of his 16 starts.
His 12 starts in 2010 for the Phillies:
And then his four starts this season:
Oswalt pitched Thursday for the first time since leaving with mid-back spasms last week. He said he had no ill effects from the injury Thursday, but he appeared to be cautious when fielding and batting. His fastball velocity was a tick slower, but nothing significant.
After 106 pitches in six innings, Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee decided that was enough.
"I think he was starting to get a little tight," Manuel said. "He didn't say too much. Rich and I definitely thought it was time to get him."
If it weren't for two consecutive at-bats in the fourth inning that required 21 pitches from Oswalt, he probably could have gone seven and helped the Phillies avoid the adventure that was nine outs in the bullpen.
Jorge Cantu saw 14 of those Oswalt pitches, fouling off nine of them. So Oswalt invented a pitch in the middle of the at-bat and struck him out on an 80 m.p.h. pitch that registered as a curveball on Pitch F/X.
It was actually a slider, Oswalt said. He drove his middle finger into the ball to change the spin on the pitch.
"I spiked it," Oswalt said.
And just about anything Ace No. 3 has done in a Phillies uniform has worked.
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