In his career against the Cincinnati Reds, tonight’s starter for Philadelphia, Roy Oswalt, is 23-3 with a 2.81 ERA. He’s the quintessential Reds-killer, and for many years he combined with Lance Berkman to give us all nightmares.
This season, Oswalt is 13-13 with a sterling 2.76 ERA overall. Since joining the Phillies mid-season, Oswalt has been better than that: 7-1, 1.74 ERA. Even at age 32, he isn’t slowing down at all.
We’re doomed! Doomed, I tell you! Why should we even play the game tonight???
Here’s an idea: let’s look at the numbers a little closer. This chart shows the career performances of tonight’s expected lineup vs. Oswalt:
[table id=26 /]
That chart includes the one person who has faced Oswalt in the post-season; Scott Rolen went 2-4 with a double in the 2004 National League Championship Series. Also, Hanigan’s line is just one game, in which Ryan went 0-1 with 2 walks.
Hmmm…small sample size disclaimers notwithstanding, the plot has thickened. Perhaps the current Reds team hasn’t been as futile against Oswalt as everyone wants you to believe? This year’s roster has hit .290, with an OPS over 800 against this particular “Reds-killer.”
Is it just possible that Oswalt built his reputation as a Reds-killer by years of facing the likes of Alex Ochoa, Donnie Sadler, Kelly Stinnett, Pokey Reese, Robin Jennings, D.T. Cromer, Wilton Guerrero, Reggie Taylor, Juan Castro, Rey Olmedo, Ruben Mateo, D’Angelo Jiminez, Jacob Cruz, John Vander Wal, Darren Bragg, Alex Gonzalez, Royce Clayton, Todd Hollandsworth, Norris Hopper, Paul Bako, Andy Phillips, Jolbert Cabrera, Corey Patterson, and Danny Richar? Maybe…just maybe, that 23-3 record was compiled against teams that haven’t had a single winning record in Oswalt’s career?
Since May of last year, Oswalt is a dreadful 0-4 with a 6.65 ERA against Cincinnati. This year alone, Oswalt is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA against the Reds.
Listen, Roy Oswalt is a great pitcher, and he’s had an outstanding season…but the Reds are playing in the playoffs for a reason. History suggests that this Reds team has a good chance of getting to Oswalt tonight.