As expected, Roy Oswalt's back problems, and a tired bullpen, have forced the Phillies to send the ailing right-hander to the disabled list and summon a reinforcement for their series with Oakland.
Oswalt was reportedly scheduled for a Monday MRI, but he had one today instead, according to the Phillies' pregame broadcast. Scott Mathieson, who was recently turned from a reliever into a starter, has been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he pitched 3 2-3 shutout innings with seven strikeouts in his maiden turn in the rotation. Mathieson will likely assume a longman role as Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley were confirmed as starters by Charlie Manuel (tweeted by Leslie Gudel just moments ago).
In addition, Brian Schneider, who last played May 11, has returned from the disabled list. Dane Sardinha, who was hitting .219/.419/.250 in 43 plate appearance, notably drawing 10 walks, was outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The move means nothing in terms of wins gained. Sardinha had some good at bats here.
Finally, the Phillies issued J.C. Romero his unconditional release, officially ending the Romero era in Philadelphia.
Beerleaguer: The Phillies, who boasted some of the best pitching depth in baseball, are suddenly playing in shallow waters. All of the viable reservists, including a couple of stretches like Mathieson and Juan Perez, are part of the active roster. There's no clear timetable for Joe Blanton and Brad Lidge. Jose Contreras is optimistically a month away, while Oswalt painted a stark portrait of his future after Thursday's loss.
The Phils are still in great shape because of the lights-out reliability of the three remaining aces, but are quite vulnerable in the middle frames now and don't have much bandwidth to handle early exits like Thursday. Better consistency from Vance Worley, beginning tonight, would help.