For some reason it works every year except in October. Since 2009--the era in which the Rangers have been a good baseball team--the Rangers have dominated the National League in Interleague play. The Rangers are 44-25 in the last nearly four years of battles against the Warren C. Giles residents. Only the Yankees top Texas over this span at 45-24.
This season, the Rangers are 12-3 in such contests with only these three games against the Rockies remaining on the 2012 Interleague schedule. For as much as I complain about National League baseball, it's been good to the Rangers. Though, one could argue the reason it "works" is because the team the Rangers have played most often in Interleague play has been the Houston Astros. The Silver Boot always shines a light.
If the Colorado Rockies were the embodiment of the National League--which, God help that league if they were--then Roy Oswalt would play the part of the Rangers when matched against them. Oswalt is 8-2 with a 1.92 ERA in 12 career starts against the Rockies. This is good news because Oswalt pitches for the Rangers tonight against the Rockies.
And so, after like half a year of rumors that Oswalt would sign with the Rangers; and after about all but a week of that span spent debating whether or not an Oswalt signing would be superfluous; and after a month of minor league tuning, Oswalt debuts as a Texas Rangers. It seems now that it was destined to always be. What this baseball kismet has wrought has not yet been revealed.
No one really knows what Oswalt will give the Rangers. You've likely heard the arguments for and against having him here many times over. The need arose because the Rangers rotation health luck finally crapped out. Here's hoping he's more Joe Nathan, Andy Pettitte, or 2010 second half Roy Oswalt than Brandon Webb or 2011 Roy Oswalt with 2011 Roy Oswalt's back. Still, 2011 Roy Oswalt was a 2.5 fWAR pitcher over 23 starts. The Rangers would take that over the rest of this season and gladly.
2011 Oswalt allowed three or less runs in 16 of those 23 starts. The Rangers have allowed three runs or less in 42 of 70 games this season. For June, it's 14 of 19 and nine of the last ten. If Oswalt can give the Rangers a back pain free 60% of a season worth of quality starts, given the need now, he'll be worth the hire. That begins tonight with a chance to beat up on the National League which is something both Oswalt and the Rangers are familiar with.
Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups for this series against the Mile-High Mountain Men:
- Roy Oswalt: 2012 Debut. 2011 stats: 9-10, 6.02 K/9, 2.14 BB/9, .316 BABIP, 74.0% LOB, 3.44 FIP, 3.95 xFIP, 2.5 WAR
- Christian Friedrich: 4-3, 9.00 K/9, 3.60 BB/9, .360 BABIP, 65.6% LOB, 4.06 FIP, 3.80 xFIP, 0.7 WAR - Last three starts: 10 runs allowed in 16.0 innings
Advantage: The idea of the Rangers drafting Christian Friedrich was once kicked around by Nolan Ryan over Roy Oswalt once played kick the can with Nolan Ryan in their youth. While Friedrich's K rate is pretty salty, you'd assume a healthy Oswalt would perform better than a green Friedrich the rest of the way. This one game isn't about the rest of the way, however.
- Colby Lewis: 6-5, 7.88 K/9, 1.13 BB/9, .259 BABIP, 77.5% LOB, 3.87 FIP, 3.78 xFIP, 1.8 WAR - Last three starts: 4 runs allowed in 24.0 innings
- Josh Outman: 0-3, 9.74 K/9, 3.98 BB/9, .362 BABIP, 48.6% LOB, 4.14 FIP, 3.36 xFIP, 0.3 WAR - Last three appearances: 14 runs allowed in 12.1 innings
Advantage: Colby Lewis having a fantastic season with an assist from some favorable luck stats over Josh Outman having...a great name for a pitcher? Though Outman is also sporting a rather Feldmanian strand rate.
- Matt Harrison: 9-3, 5.36 K/9, 2.14 BB/9, .292 BABIP, 75.1% LOB, 3.56 FIP, 3.96 xFIP, 2.1 WAR - Last three appearances: 1 run allowed in 22.1 innings
- Alex White: 2-5, 5.69 K/9, 3.31 BB/9, .307 BABIP, 63.4% LOB, 5.20 FIP, 4.14 xFIP, 0.2 WAR - Last three starts: 11 runs allowed in 13.2 innings
Advantage: Matt Harrison in Stay Out of the Basement over Alex White allowed more runs in his last start than the Rangers' starters in this series have allowed combined in their last 48.1 innings.
Colorado Rockies (26-42, 4th Place NL West)
Rangers Record vs. Colorado: (Haven't played since 2006)
Colorado's Recent Results: 1-2 series loss against the Philadelphia Phillies
Colorado's Away Record: 11-21
The Ballpark Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 121/113 - wOBA: 104/107
SB Nation Rockies Blog: Purple Row
|Match-up: (as of 06/22)||Rangers||Rockies||Advantage|
|Batting (RAR)||47.6 (3rd)||10.9 (8th)||Rangers|
|Base Running (RAR)||1.4 (11th)||2.4 (8th)||Rockies|
|Starters (RAR)||36.1||9.2||Rangers (!)|
|Bullpen (RAR)||34.2 (2nd)||25.9 (5th)||Rangers|
|Defense (UZR)||22.1 (3rd)||-20.6 (27th)||Rangers (!)|
|Overall (UZR + RAR)||141.4||27.8||Rangers (!)|
Questions to Answer:
- What's the best name from the Rockies' pitching staff from this season: Jhoulys Chacin, Esmil Rogers, Adam Ottavino, Drew Pomeranz, Rafael Betancourt, Rex Brothers, Edgmer Escalona, Juan Nicasio, or Alex White?
- Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (It's time for the rebirth of Nap-O-Li.)
- Over/Under: 2.5 home runs hit by Michael Young/Nelson Cruz/Mike Napoli combined in this series?
- What's your guess for Roy Oswalt's final line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) tonight?
- Worse mascot: Rockies Dinger or Rangers Captain ?