If you found out your team would lose a guy who would make a solid No. 2 pitcher on any major league staff for upwards of two months, you’d likely start perusing the list of guys your GM should make a move for. Let’s face it, in this day and age putrid parity in professional sports, losing a guy that’s a mainstay of your rotation can make the difference between October on the diamond or the golf course.
Of course, Captain Obvious will remind you that your Fightin’ Phils aren’t the typical team with the average pitching staff. The loss of Roy Oswalt does not cripple the chances of a fifth straight Red October.
Oswalt has been battling back injuries for the majority of the year, yet still sits with a 3.79 ERA, good for 63rd in baseball if he had enough innings to qualify. In a world with 32 teams, you can do the math and see how Oswalt would be a No. 2 on any other staff. Of course, here, he’s a fourth.
Sure, he’s got a 4-6 record, but of his six losses, the Phils once-potent offensive lineup has crossed home plate more than three times just once — a 7-5 decision against the Diamondbacks in April.
The flip side is that Oswalt has tossed more than six innings just three times, and that is a bit of a concern going forward.
The bottom line, however, is that Oswalt needs to get healthy and the Phillies have the luxury of waiting for him. They are 19 games over .500 with the best record in baseball and a five-game lea in the division. They have two sure-fire All-Stars in Doc Halladay and Cole Hamels to go with Cliff Lee who is starting to find his groove.
Vance Worley has pitched well in his and Joe Blanton’s absence when he gets regular starts. Kyle Kendrick has been more than serviceable as the fill-in guy who can bounce between the rotation and bullpen.
The Phillies don’t need Oswalt right now. They won’t need him until they need a fourth starter in October. Granted, you need him back in late August, early September to get some starts and confidence heading into the playoffs. But, they’ll be fine without him.
Get Oswalt back to the Oswalt we’ve known. That’s all anyone should be worried about right now.