Roy Oswalt will have a tough act to follow today when the former National League Central mainstay faces a familiar foe.
It isn’t talked about a lot here, but it’s common knowledge among Astros fans that Oswalt became the first pitcher in baseball history to win 23 of his first 24 decisions against a single opponent, that opponent being the Cincinnati Reds. He' 23-3 lifetime with a 2.81 ERA against them. The familiar Reds will be in his crosshairs when Oswalt makes his first postseason start since the Astros’ 2005 World Series run. The little, long-strider went 4-0 with a 3.66 that fall, earning the victory in the National League clincher over the Cardinals. He followed with his best statistical season in 2006, but a league-leading 2.98 ERA (150 ERA+) wasn’t enough to help secure a postseason return. The Astros fell further into the NL Central basement in subsequent years and it seemed to suck the life out of the 32-year-old right-hander, who hasn’t been named to an All-Star game since 2007. He’s experienced career resuscitation with the Phils, who hit the nail squarely on the head when they traded for Oswalt in July. In 13 games (12 starts) he’s 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA, returning to the top of the leaderboard in one category: WHIP (1.025), thanks to a career-best 6.9 H/9, including a smoldering 5.8 with the Phils. The Reds, who had exactly no hits in their previous effort, need to make every one of them count. Not that any of us would care if they don't.
Polanco ready: Placido Polanco told reporters that he expects to return to the lineup today. Polanco was scratched from Wednesday’s game with back spasms. Wilson Valdez filled in admirably of course. … Roy Halladay’s Game 1 jersey will be donated to the Hall of Fame.