Morning Wood: Late Night Limpness

Screen shot 2011-06-18 at 10.14.58 AMSource: Phillies.com

Not good. Not good. 

While three of our four aces are mowing down hitters with magical baseballs of logic defying movement, Roy Oswalt hasn't been himself. We raise you this excerpt from long-time Phillies beat writer Jim Salisbury's post-game recap:

The visiting clubhouse at Safeco Field was virtually empty when it opened to reporters after Friday night’s game.

Roy Oswalt was conspicuously present. Dressed in street clothes and a golf cap after a 4-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners, Oswalt sat silently and stared contemplatively into his locker for a couple of minutes before turning around to address reporters.

A handful of things went against Oswalt, adding up to his fifth loss in 12 starts. When this one was over, the 33-year-old pitcher appeared tired and frustrated, the complete opposite of how he looked after joining the Phillies for a pennant race last season.

Asked if he was frustrated, the veteran pitcher said, “I feel like I’m throwing the ball pretty well, not great, but pretty well.”

Asked if he was having fun, he issued an emotionless one-word answer: “Yeah.”

We’ll take his word for it, even though sometimes it looks as if he isn’t, even though sometimes his body language appears as out of gas as his fastball has recently.

 

That's really good writing. Salisbury has been covering the Phillies for years (yesterday, when finishing up Illadictionary, it was Salisbury's article that helped me confirm the date of Mike Lieberthal's walkoff… in 1998), and that sort of insight goes a long way. Whether it's his back, the fact that his hometown was ravaged by storms, or that his heart isn't in it anymore (Oswalt has said he would consider retiring after this year), something is amiss with Roy. Let's take a look at his statisticals:

If the season were to end today (which it won't, because, apparently, Harold Camping is an asshole), Oswalt would finish the season with his second worst WHIP (1.29) and hits per nine innings (9.3), and a career worst strikeouts per nine innings (5.3) and strikeout to walk ratio (2.28). What does that tell you? It tells you little Roy's stuff isn't as good. His fastball velocity is down 1.4 M.P.H. from last season to 91.2. His five-year average is 92.7. As a result, batters are making more contact. While Roy has relied on his secondary pitches much more over the last two seasons, like Lee, he still needs his fastball to pop in order for them to be effective. Hitters are getting wood on 85% of their swings- 91% of swings inside the strike zone and 75% of swings outside the strike zones. All of those are career lows for Oswalt. 

His stuff, Jules… it's not as good.

David Murphy has more anecdotal bits on Oswalt's fastball. Manuel thinks it will come back soon:

"I think about that sometimes," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think his fastball, I think you'll see him come out pretty soon and his fastball will be back where it was. I think there comes a time when the fastball — not all of it is there. It's just kind of how your arm feels and how you're throwing it at the time, kind of like a hitter not hitting. I think it's just a matter of time before you see his fastball jump up. There's nothing wrong with the way he's throwing. I think that's going to come."

 

Someone in the comments said we should call this "Doug Eddings is a Dick Game." Concur. Polanco was called out on a check swing and didn't appreciate Edding's handling of the entire at-bat.

Finally, going to keep pimping this out for a few days since it was posted late on a Friday- our Illadictioinary defining the types of Phillies games.

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2 Responses

  1. “That’s really good writing” WHAT?!?!? That entire grey box from Salisbury’s recap has NOTHING IMPORTANT WRITTEN IN IT. You know why? Salisbury never has anything important to say. He’s stealing money, and for you to praise THAT from his recap is a joke. How about the fact that, since the beginning of May, the Phils have scored 2 runs or less in 5 of his 7 starts, in which he’s 1-4 with 3.40 ERA. The slightest bit of help from the offense, and Oswalt could easily have a record closer to 7-3. Please don’t praise mediocrity.

  2. Mike- Very few beat writers will let you into the locker room like that. He has been around for 15 years and wouldn’t write stuff like that if it wasn’t rooted in some truth. Oswalt has said that this could be his last year, and judging by his elongated trip home (i know, i know- but do you think doc chase cliff cole jimmy or ryan would have spent 8 days at home?) and general attitude, it thought it was good insight into Oswalt’s state. Yes, he’s been “good,” but his numbers are down across the board. That’s certainly worth noting.

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