Tag: Roy Oswalt

How Roy Oswalt’s MLB Peak Got Far Less Credit Than It Deserved

With very little fanfare, Roy Oswalt will retire after 13 seasons pitching for four different teams, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

It seems like a fitting end considering how low-key the right-hander was throughout his career. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look back and appreciate just how great he was at his peak. 

Oswalt came up with the Houston Astros in the middle of the steroid era, debuting at the age of 23 on May 6, 2001, in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies. His first eight appearances in the big leagues were out of the bullpen. 

His first career start came on June 2 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, going six innings with just two hits allowed, one earned run and four strikeouts. That performance would set the tone for his career. 

A staple in Houston’s rotation from 2001 until he was traded to Philadelphia in 2010, Oswalt battled injuries and age for the last three years of his career, moving from the Phillies to Texas (2012) and Colorado (2013). 

Even though his overall numbers aren’t good enough to get Hall of Fame consideration, Oswalt established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball almost immediately.

His career peak may not have gotten the attention it deserved while it was happening, but now that we have a chance to look back at his entire body of work, it’s quite impressive. 


Advanced Metrics

Wins Above Replacement is not the only measure that should be used when evaluating a player’s added value, but it does provide a good jumping-off point to examine what made him good or bad. 

Looking at Oswalt’s peak years (2001-10), you won’t find a lot of pitchers who were better during that same period. 

That is a special peak, one that appeared to ensure Oswalt a spot in Cooperstown with a little luck in his later years. That didn’t happen, of course. 

Thanks to my colleague Jason Catania, who posted this little nugget about Oswalt on Twitter shortly after the retirement announcement. 

In case you were wondering, the four pitchers ahead of Oswalt in ERA+ during the last decade were Johan Santana (148), Roy Halladay (147), Brandon Webb (142) and Pedro Martinez (139). 

If you like fielding independent pitching (FIP), which takes into account everything a pitcher has direct control over (home runs, walks, strikeouts) and takes out the defense behind him, Oswalt ranked eighth in baseball with a 3.34 mark (min. 1,000 innings). 

Oswalt’s numbers look even better when accounting for park factors. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Minute Maid Park favored hitters from 2001-07. 

He was an excellent control pitcher, too, finishing his career with 3.56 strikeouts for every walk; that’s better than Zack Greinke (3.48), Adam Wainwright (3.35) and Felix Hernandez (3.24). 

All of the advanced numbers love Oswalt, especially in the prime of his career, but there is one other reason to appreciate his greatness. 


Awards Recognition

The biggest mistake Oswalt made was pitching in the National League at the same time as Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens at the height of their powers in the early 2000s. 

If not for those three, Oswalt would have at least one Cy Young on his mantle. He finished in the top 10 of NL Cy Young voting six times from 2001-10, including five top-five finishes from 2001-06, more than Schilling had in his entire career (four). 

Johnson and Schilling finished 1-2 in 2001 and 2002. Oswalt only made 21 starts in 2003, then finished behind Clemens and Johnson in 2004 and had two consecutive fourth-place finishes in 2005 and 2006. 

Oswalt is like baseball’s version of Peter O’Toole, who was nominated for an acting Oscar eight times without winning. 

Despite not winning the awards, Oswalt’s name was a staple on ballots every year from 2001-06, with one more appearance in 2010. It’s a testament to the high level of consistency he showed that voters made it a point to find a spot for him on the ballot. 

These weren’t just fluky win-inflated vote totals, either. Oswalt led the league in starts twice (2004, 2005), threw more than 210 innings six times (2002, 2004-07, 2010) and had more than 180 strikeouts four times (2002, 2004-05, 2010). 


The Decline

One reason Oswalt’s greatness isn’t appreciated now is because our society is so focused on what you have done lately. He’s only pitched in 26 games the last two years, posting a 6.80 ERA in 91.1 innings. 

His last great year was in 2010, when the average cost for a gallon of gas was $2.80. We live in a world where news moves at a rapid-fire pace, and if you aren’t worth talking about, people aren’t going to remember you. 

Another problem that Oswalt faced was how rapidly the decline came. He finished sixth in Cy Young voting after the 2010 season, made just 23 starts in 2011 and was basically done as a valuable pitcher after that. 

Another problem was Oswalt became a star long before the deeper analytics (sabermetrics) became widespread in evaluating player performance, preventing a lot of fans from looking up numbers and comparing them to other great players from the era. 

Now, with sites like FanGraphs and Baseball Reference being used by casual fans, we can look at what a player like Oswalt did in his peak and realize that we should have been paying closer attention. 

There won’t be a ticker-tape parade, or an elaborate Cooperstown campaign in his future, but if/when the Astros retire Oswalt’s number, it will provide us an opportunity to give a proper farewell to one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball over the last 15 years. 


Note: All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted. 

If you want to talk baseball, hit me up on Twitter. 

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Roy Oswalt Retires from MLB After 13-Year Career

Longtime MLB pitcher Roy Oswalt is hanging up his glove after a 13-year career and heading over to the business side of baseball.    

According to a tweet by ESPN’s Buster Olney on Tuesday afternoon, the three-time All-Star will be working with his agent, Bob Garber, during a post-playing career:

Brian McTaggert of MLB.com confirms that Oswalt and Lance Berkman will retire as Houston Astros:

Oswalt also shared his favorite memory from his career with McTaggert:

Oswalt finishes his tenure in the majors with 163 wins and 102 losses, most of those coming during his time with the Houston Astros. He began his MLB career with the club in 2001 and will end it there as well.

According to Daniel Gotera of KHOU 11 Sports, the club confirmed that it would be seeking one-day contracts for Oswalt and former teammate Lance Berkman so that the pair can retire as members of the team.

The 36-year-old Oswalt pitched for Houston from 2001 to midway through 2010, helping guide the team to the World Series in 2005, where they lost in four games to the Chicago White Sox. He earned NLCS MVP honors that year, pitching 14 innings in two starts against the St. Louis Cardinals and compiling an ERA of just 1.29.

Oswalt’s career figures are also impressive, as the 6’0”, 190-pounder racked up 1,852 strikeouts and posted a 3.36 ERA. He made three straight All-Star teams from 2005 through 2007 and led the majors in ERA in 2006.

The right-hander was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in the midst of the 2010 season. He pitched there for two seasons before closing out his career with stops in Texas and Colorado, respectively.

While Oswalt never won a World Series during his lengthy MLB career, he’ll always be remembered as one of the more effective pitchers during that time.

He had a five-pitch repertoire and great control for much of his career, while also being regarded as one of the quickest workers—a trait that kept his fielders engaged and opposing hitters unsettled.

Then-teammate Michael Young had heaps of praise for Oswalt during their time with the Texas Rangers, as the third baseman told Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram: “Having Roy Oswalt is a huge shot in the arm for our team. He works extremely fast, keeps the defense involved, great tempo, and we’re excited to have him.”

It’ll be quite interesting to follow Oswalt’s career into the post-playing era. Agent Bob Garber has a quality list of clients, and his staff could definitely use a class act like Oswalt lending a helping hand in the bullpen.

Major League Baseball and its fans should sincerely miss Oswalt and wish him the best in his future endeavors. Considering his experience and wealth of knowledge of the game, he should have no trouble making a smooth transition and finding even further success.

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Does Roy Oswalt Have Enough Left to Be Rockies’ NL West X-Factor?

The Colorado Rockies will call Roy Oswalt up from Double-A back to the MLB on Thursday after completing his rehab, according to Troy Renck of The Denver Post.



After breezing through the minor leagues in his rehab starts, Oswalt is on his way up, according to NBC Sports.

Oswalt made five starts in the minors, throwing 33 innings with a 2.16 ERA and 25/7 K/BB ratio at Double-A, where he was just named the Texas League pitcher of the week. He held opponents to a .211 batting average, but did serve up five homers in five starts.

Oswalt’s most recent outing was 8.1 innings of shutout ball Friday with seven strikeouts versus one walk.

Oswalt will face the Washington Nationals in his first start this year, a team that he has gone 4-4 against with a 3.33 ERA in the last three years.

The timing for Oswalt’s return couldn’t have been more perfect. He is coming back at a time when the Rockies need him most, as they are half a game back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West and are trying to make a push as they head toward the All-Star Break.

Oswalt could play a vital role for the team as it enters a very important part of the season. The Rockies’ pitchers have a combined ERA of 4.44 this year, which isn’t terrible but it isn’t great.

The three-time All-Star can help Colorado in a few ways as it tries to climb up the standings.

First and foremost, Oswalt can win games.

He is just two years removed of his surge in Philly, when he posted an ERA of just 1.74 in 10 starts after being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.

However, in the last two years Oswalt has dealt with injuries and age. After starting at least 30 games for seven straight seasons from 2004 to 2010, he started 23 in 2011, and just nine in 2012. His stuff was poor in those games too, as his ERA ballooned to 3.69 in 2011 and 5.80 in 2012, not to mention his 1.34 and 1.53 WHIPs, respectively.

At 35 years old, Oswalt is finally back, but he might not be everything the Rockies hope he will be.

Even if Oswalt can’t come out and shut hitters down, his most valuable asset is his experience and knowledge.

Tracy Ringolsby of MLB.com recently wrote an article about why Oswalt is a great fit for the Rockies, citing his experience in the big leagues.

Oswalt, who has earned $96 million in 12 big league seasons, knows about success. He reached double figures in wins in nine of his first 10 full seasons. He has a 163-96 big league record.

He pitched in the postseason with Houston in 2004 and ’05, and with Philadelphia in 2010 and ’11. He’d like to add a fifth postseason to his resume in 2013 with Colorado, returning to an NL team after his first AL exposure a year ago.

Oswalt has been around the block a few times, and he has knowledge that the Rockies’ pitchers just don’t have.

While Jorge De La Rosa and Jeff Francis are 32 years old and have been in the majors for a while, Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio and Tyler Chatwood are 25, 26 and 23 years old, respectively. These guys haven’t been around all that long, and they could definitely benefit from being around a knowledgeable veteran.

The biggest question surrounding Oswalt’s return is whether or not he has enough talent and knowledge to help lead the Rockies to the postseason, but it doesn’t look good.

We can’t expect much out of Oswalt on the mound.

While he dominated Double-A ball, the opponents he faced in Tulsa are a far cry from those in the major leagues, and he will be pitching half of his games in hitter-friendly Coors Field.

The biggest reason why Oswalt won’t be enough is the offense.

Led by Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies’ offense had been on fire and was carrying the team.

However, Tulo went down with a broken rib and Carlos Gonzalez was hit by a foul ball, taking out both stars in one foul swoop.

While CarGo is back and playing well, Tulo will be out for 4-6 weeks.

With the Arizona Diamondbacks overachieving and the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants hanging around, the west is one of the tightest divisions in baseball, and losing Tulo for this long is essentially a death sentence.

Oswalt will be a nice addition for the Rockies, but don’t expect to see them playing in mid-October.

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Roy Oswalt’s First Start an Encouraging Sign for the Texas Rangers

Forget the fact that the Colorado Rockies have lost 13 of their last 15 games and forget that they are missing their best player in Troy Tulowitzki.

Roy Oswalt‘s first start in a Texas Rangers uniform was a very positive sign for the struggling Texas rotation.

After making four starts in the minors—capped off with a 100-pitch performance in a victory—Oswalt went 6.2 innings and struck out six batters while allowing nine hits for his 160th win of his career, and improved to 9-2 all-time against Colorado.

With the Rangers now having won seven games in a row and taking advantage of teams that they should be beating in their interleague schedule, this stretch won’t mean anything unless they can beat the AL teams that are in top form in mid-season contention.

But it’s encouraging to see Oswalt perform the way he did considering he hasn’t pitched since Game 4 of last year’s NLDS when his Philadelphia Philies played St. Louis.

The 34-year-old veteran had his fastball going at a very accurate rate, as well as clocking in at around 90 MPH every time he threw it. His trademark curveball confused almost every Colorado hitter and had a slope that broke so effectively that you didn’t know when it was going to drop into the glove of Yorvit Torrealba.

It was clear that his last performance for Triple-A Round Rock carried over to Friday night, especially in the pitch count. Oswalt threw 110 pitches into the seventh inning, with 81 (a remarkable 74 percent) of them for strikes.

Not a bad outing for his first time in an American League uniform.

The only negative portion of his outing was allowing back-to-back base hits—a triple by Dexter Fowler and an RBI double by Marco Scutaro—that eventually lead to manager Ron Washington pulling him from the game, exiting with a standing ovation from a jam-packed crowd in Arlington.

Nevertheless, along with the home runs by Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli, Oswalt did more than enough to get his first victory of the season and keep the Rangers rolling along.

It’s impossible to give him any less than an A for his performance. He was fairly accurate throughout the night and made the Rockies’ bats look foolish on more than one occasion.

The true test will come in the finale of the three-game set with the Detroit Tigers, as Oswalt is projected to be the starter against a team who has won five of their last eight coming into the weekend. If he can control that dangerous middle of the lineup, things will start to be looking up for Oswalt and the rotation.

“These guys have been rolling,” Oswalt said after the game, via the Associated Press (h/t SI.com). “I was just trying to keep it going.”

You’ve done your part in the opening act, Roy. Now let’s see if you can keep it up all the way until October.

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10 Bold Predictions for Roy Oswalt as a Texas Ranger

The Texas Rangers made an unsurprising yet intriguing move by signing free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt for the rest of the season.

Clearly the addition of Oswalt gives the Rangers the potential to be one of the best rotations in baseball for the rest of the season. 

But what exactly will Oswalt accomplish with the reigning two-time American League Champions?

Here are 10 predictions for Roy Oswalt as a Texas Ranger. 

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Roy Oswalt: Boston Red Sox’s Missed Signing a Blessing in Disguise

The 2012 Boston Red Sox season is not going to come down to whether Roy Oswalt is going to pitch half a season or not.

The flaws that this team has—for whatever playoff run they may make—are harder to fix than by just picking up an expensive pitcher for twenty starts in a league he is not familiar with.

While the Texas Rangers made a good deal today in signing the 34-year-old veteran for $5 million guaranteed, the Rangers are also in much better shape to win their third American League pennant than Boston is to make the playoffs.

Yes, the Red Sox rotation would be better off with Oswalt than without, and if beleaguered starter Daisuke Matsusaka can return to the rotation sooner than later, then perhaps Daniel Bard could have been sent back to close and shore up an improving bullpen.

Injuries, however, have taken their toll again with this club, and the best thing the Red Sox can do is just to wait them out and finally get a true sense on where this team is overall.

Oswalt is a Southern guy. Born in Mississippi, the bulk of his career was spent with the Astros. While he put up magnificent numbers after being traded to the Phillies in 2010, he stumbled last season watching his ERA go up nearly a run from a 2.76 combined with Houston and Philadelphia to a 3.69 with Philly.

While the Baltimore Orioles will probably not hang on to their lead in the AL East, the Red Sox just do not have the horses to make a deep run in October with or without Oswalt.

Their starting pitching has indeed improved from an awful April as Felix Doubront continues to surprise out of the fourth spot in the rotation, but Clay Buchholz seems to be having a “Jekyll and Hyde” season going, and there is little protection for the rotation as a whole if any of the five starters get hurt.

Add in all the outfield injuries—did you really think to yourself in March that Adrian Gonzalez would actually be a decent right fielder?—and where would be the incentive for Oswalt to come to Boston?

On the off chance August rolls around and the Sox actually find themselves within a handful of games for a wild card, then taking a chance on a short-term player rental makes sense.

Considering that there will be players traded away this year, on the other hand, makes the notion of signing Roy Oswalt a rather silly one. 

There is always next year.

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Roy Oswalt Signs with the Rangers, Boston Red Sox Should Focus on Kevin Millwood

What can you really say about the whole Roy Oswalt signing with the Texas Rangers scenario other than thank God its over?

The rich certainly got richer in this case.

The Rangers already own the best record in the American League and are second only to the Los Angeles Dodgers in all of baseball. The addition of Oswalt bolsters their pitching staff as they continue on their voyage to make it to their third consecutive World Series.

So how exactly does this signing impact the Boston Red Sox?

The obvious answer is the fact that adding pitching depth for nothing more than money is now off the table. If the Sox are interested in adding an outside arm they will be forced to make some type of trade in order to do so.

That is, of course, unless Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez walks through that door…I’m kidding.

That brings us to the list of truly viable pitching options that will be available at the trade deadline. There are of course the top tier players that the Red Sox will likely not touch: Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke. The cost to obtain either of these guys would be too high for what could result in just a short-term rental arm.

The next tier would fall to players like Chicago Cubs Ryan Dempster or Houston Astros Wandy Rodriguez.

Sure, Dempster might be 0-3, but he has a 2.14 ERA and a 1.061 WHIP after eight games, proving that he just doesn’t get offensive support. Rodriguez is also having a fine year for himself, with a 4-4 record with a 2.49 ERA and 1.161 WHIP.

Unfortunately, both Dempster and Rodriguez would likely require a larger return package than what the Red Sox are willing to give up for their services.

This brings me to Kevin Millwood.

No, this is not the same Millwood that was lights-out in the late-90s and early-2000s for the Atlanta Braves. That said, he is having a solid season for the Seattle Mariners. He currently owns a 3-4 record with a 3.56 ERA and 1.286 WHIP.

By itself, that comes across as decent numbers for a starting pitcher. However, the true merit to that stat line is what Millwood has done over his last four outings. He has recorded a 3-0 record with a very impressive 0.66 ERA and a 0.747 WHIP, recording 20 strikeouts in 27 innings of work.

Its entirely worth noting that those stats came against the New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies and the Texas Rangers twice.

With that in mind, Millwood is only making $1 million in 2012 for the Mariners. He is only signed for the 2012 season. The Red Sox could potentially offer up a mid-level prospect, two at best, and could likely get their hands on Millwood.

It may not have been in the original plan, but this is one contingency plan the front office should certainly entertain.

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Why Roy Oswalt Signing Clinches a Third Straight AL Pennant for Texas Rangers

The American League may as well take the rest of the season off. There’s no point in trying to win the AL pennant this year. The Texas Rangers have already secured it.

The Rangers, in case you haven’t been paying attention, have been the Junior Circuit’s best team all season. They may have hit a rough patch earlier this month, but they’re going to end May with the best record in the AL and the best run differential of any team in the majors. 

Dominance, thy name is the Rangers.

It’s one thing to have talent, and the Rangers certainly have a lot of that. What makes them special is the fact that they also have loads of experience. All the key players on their roster have played in two consecutive World Series. This year, every last one of them is out to win it for a change.

And now they’ve gone and added yet another player with both talent and experience who has his eyes on baseball’s grandest prize.

As it was first reported by Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News, the Rangers have agreed to terms on a deal with veteran right-hander Roy Oswalt. Scott Miller of CBSSports.com has reported that the Rangers will pay Oswalt $5 million for the rest of the season, and he could earn up to $1 million in incentives.

It’s going to be a little while before Oswalt is ready to pitch in a major league game. He’s obviously been throwing and working out in his time away from the game, but he’ll need to go on a rehab assignment so he can get back into the flow of things. In all likelihood, he’s a few weeks away from returning. He may even need a full month.

The Rangers are the one team in baseball that can afford to be patient. Even without Neftali Feliz, who is on the disabled list with sprained ulnar collateral ligament, the Rangers have a solid starting rotation, and their bullpen is hands-down the deepest in baseball.

Their Josh Hamilton-led offense is of course the most explosive offense in baseball, and it’s proven to be more than capable of picking up the slack on nights when the pitching isn’t there.

At the very least, the Rangers can rest easy knowing they’re getting a guy with a proven track record. If he returns and pitches like he did during his glory days with the Houston Astros, great. If not, oh well. The Rangers are going to be sliding him into the No. 5 spot in their rotation, so they’ll take what they can get out of him.

The only real concern is the possibility of Oswalt’s injury issues cropping up again. Last season was tough for him, as he had to go on the disabled list on two occasions with back problems. If those problems return, the Rangers are going to be out a couple million bucks for nothing.

The bright side is that Oswalt has had a lot of time off. It’s not a stretch to imagine that so many months of rest were exactly what the doctor ordered for his 34-year-old body.

If it turns out that rest was just what Oswalt needed, then the Rangers are going to be getting a lot more than a mere No. 5 pitcher. They’ll be getting a No. 1. Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago that Oswalt went 7-1 with a sub-2.00 ERA in half a season for the Phillies.

A healthy Oswalt will help Texas’ rotation, but this is a move that affects the team’s bullpen as well. If Oswalt can hold down a spot in the rotation, the Rangers will be able to move Scott Feldman back to their bullpen, and they’ll also be free to move Feliz to the bullpen when he gets healthy.

If all goes well, this signing will thus make Texas’ strong rotation even stronger, and it will make their excellent bullpen even more excellent.

The rest of the regular season is a mere formality for the Rangers. They shouldn’t have any trouble holding off the surging Los Angeles Angels, who might be losing Jered Weaver for an extended amount of time with a back injury.

As long as they stay focused, the Rangers will coast to an AL West title, and they’ll probably win over 100 games.

The postseason won’t be a mere formality for the Rangers, but they’re going to be the strongest team in the field no matter who makes the cut. No team in the American League can match the Rangers’ balance of offense, pitching and defense. That’s been the case in each of the last two postseasons, and it will be the case again this postseason.

So let’s go ahead and declare this contest to be over. The Rangers already were the best team in the American League, and they just got significantly better. They have the Junior Circuit in their back pocket.

Enjoy your AL pennant, Rangers.

As for those of you in the National League… well, you know how to handle the Rangers already. Just go ahead and do your thing.


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Roy Oswalt to Texas: Why Dodgers Fans Shouldn’t Worry

It all made perfect sense for Dodgers fans.

With new ownership on its way and an underwhelming pitching staff to begin the season, the presence of Roy Oswalt in free agency seemed too appealing to pass up. Having not found a place to pitch by opening day, Oswalt announced he would wait a couple of months before deciding where he would play in 2012.

While his numbers were still very good last season (3.69 ERA), two separate stints on the disabled list left some teams questioning how much he had left in the tank.

For the Dodgers, their offseason pitching problem was solved by the signing of Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, however neither pitcher brought much excitement to town. Capuano was a 33-year-old with two Tommy John surgeries in his past who had made just 40 starts since 2007.

Even more alarming, however, was his lack of effectiveness in those 40 starts, posting an ERA of 4.39.

Harang on the other hand, was coming off of a career year with the Padres in the friendly confines of Petco Park, where he posted a career-low 3.64 ERA. It was the first time since 2007 that his ERA dipped below 4.21.

So with the fourth and fifth spots filled by underwhelming newcomers, optimistic fans dreamt of Oswalt in Dodgers blue.

Then, the improbable happened.

With his first full season in four years behind him, Capuano has been incredible in 2012. In 10 starts, the southpaw is 7-1 with an ERA of 2.14 and a WHIP of 1.00, all numbers that rank him among the league leaders.

While Harang has been less impressive (3-3, 4.14 ERA), he has still managed to post five quality starts and given the Dodgers a chance to win ball games.

Although Oswalt would be a definite upgrade over the likes of Harang, and insurance in case the injury to Ted Lilly were more serious, the real reason I don’t think the Dodgers needed Oswalt was because of the youth throughout their system.

Take tonight’s starter, Nathan Eovaldi, for example. The 22-year-old right-hander was surprisingly effective in his first taste of the big leagues last season, finishing with an ERA of 3.09 in six starts.

The other young arm who could use some experience is Rubby De La Rosa. 

Like Eovaldi, De La Rosa got his first taste of the major leagues in 2011 and was a bright spot in an otherwise depressing season. In 10 starts, De La Rosa notched a 3.91 ERA and a K/9 ratio of 8.97.

Unfortunately, De La Rosa’s season ended prematurely when he needed to get Tommy John surgery, however there have been positive reports hinting that he might be able to return around the all-star break (see: notes at bottom).

So sure, it’s disappointing to hear that the Dodgers apparently made an offer to Oswalt and came up empty, losing out to the Texas Rangers, but there are positives everywhere in this situation. First of all, the idea that the Dodgers are pursuing someone like this indicates the new direction of this ownership group, and secondly, the Dodgers have a couple young guns that are ready to pave the way for a new future.

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Guide to the Toronto Blue Jays Stealing the AL East Title

One thing that the Toronto Blue Jays have shown this season is that they are consistently inconsistent.  On occasion they have looked like a team equipped to raise their play to a new level—only to follow it up with disappointing stretches against teams they should beat (teams worse than .500) or fall short against teams they are competing with for a playoff spot. 

They also haven’t been able to get on a roll.  As of May 23, they have gone on five winning streaks of two or more games followed by losing streaks of two or more games.

They began their season alternating wins and losses two at a time—splitting their first 12 games. They then swept the Kansas City Royals (April 20-24) but then lost their next four—bringing them back to .500 (10-10) after 20 games. 

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