Back in 2010, Cliff Lee wound up and excelled with the Texas Rangers, leading them to what was his second-straight World Series, against the Giants, while the Phillies sat at home. For me and my man crush, it was all very difficult to watch: Lee, blanking the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS and taking the mound for Game 1 of the World Series.
When Roy Oswalt signed with the Rangers a few months ago, I thought, here we go again. Another mercenary Phillie turned Ranger who we’d still love to have in the rotation.
Well, things aren’t going as well for Oswalt in the Lone Star State.
He’s pitched 38 innings, has a 5.82 ERA and what would easily be his career-high WHIP, 1.60. Last week, he was moved to the bullpen and, apparently, doesn’t like it there.
Oswalt and his agent have expressed as much to the Rangers. And the media. Allen Iverson Oswalt told reporters, "I'm a starter. I'm not really a bullpen guy." But it all really came to head yesterday, when Oswalt refused to pitch a third inning in relief: [Dallas News]
Roy Oswalt pitched two perfect innings in relief for the Rangers on just 30 pitches Sunday, three days after two solid relief innings.
And that apparently exhausted him.
Manager Ron Washington was ready to send Oswalt back out for the ninth inning of what was then a tie game, but Oswalt declined. Washington, who was operating down two relievers (Mike Adams and Alexi Ogando) and trying to protect a third (Tanner Scheppers) didn’t push the issue. It was the third time Oswalt had pitched in a seven-day span. By the end of his second inning, he’d pitched 9.1 innings in that stretch and thrown 150 pitches.
“He said he couldn’t go any further,” Washington said. “He said he had enough. To get anymore, you have to ask him.”
Yikes. Stuff like this makes it fair to question Oswalt’s motives. Before being traded to Philly, it was reported that he wasn’t too interested in pitching for a big market team in the Northeast. For the most part, though, things went well here and Oswalt won fans over when he played left field in an extra innings game in 2010. But, last year, his taking a week off to help his Mississippi community recover from the devastation of a tornado rubbed some folks (me) the wrong way. Oswalt’s family was unhurt and his home wasn’t damaged. And while he may have had the biggest tractor in his state, he was being paid millions to pitch for the Phillies. He came back with a back injury and was inconsistent the rest of the season. He later told reporters that – perhaps rightfully – baseball was third or fourth on his list of priorities.
Anyway, that brings us back to yesterday, when an unhappy Oswalt declined to pitch a third inning for the division-leading Rangers. Whether it was out of spite, or because Oswalt didn’t want to risk damage to his arm that might cost him if he decides to play another year, is unknown. But what’s obvious is that the whole thing was poor form by Oswalt.