Two weeks from today, Roy Oswalt is expected to make his Texas Rangers debut at home against the Colorado Rockies, and boy do the Rangers need him.
After Neftali Feliz was placed on the disabled list with an elbow sprain, it became quite clear the Rangers needed to do something to fill that void after it was clear Scott Feldman wasn't going to cut the mustard as a starter. That's when the Rangers went out and got Oswalt, who hasn't pitched in the bigs yet this year. Now, of course, Derek Holland has joined Feliz on the DL, putting the Rangers in a real bind and putting even more pressure on Oswalt to be an effective pitcher.
On Thursday night, Oswalt made his second start for Triple-A Round Rock, and it was a big mixed bag of results. Oswalt was expected to be on a 50-pitch limit and ended up throwing 56 pitches and going four innings — not too bad, really. He had four strikeouts and walked one, giving up six hits.
But he got tagged in the third inning, giving up five runs with most of the damage coming on a grand slam before coming back out and finishing the fifth without allowing any more runs. So in all, he threw three shutout innings and had a really bad one.
Minor-league innings for major-league pitchers aren't a great test, especially in Oswalt's case. He's trying to work on all his stuff and isn't truly "pitching". But everything Oswalt does in Round Rock is going to be under a stronger microscope now that the Rangers are without 40 percent of their starting rotation.