Roy Oswalt drops third start for Rockies; what’s next?


Roy Oswalt throws a pitch.
Roy Oswalt has been unimpressive in his return.

It has become painfully obvious that it may be necessary to set a timetable to pull the plug on Roy Oswalt. The 35-year-old newest addition to the Colorado Rockies rotation is reminding fans of the recently departed Jeff Francis. His last three games have turned into a recasting of the Jeff Francis Show, except this new Francis hasn’t been a huge upgrade.

Roy Oswalt said he has thrown too many strikes, and I buy that argument. He hasn’t been able to get as many balls in play to force double plays or put-outs. He struck out 11 and walked none through five innings in his first outing against the Washington Nationals, but he gave up four runs on four hits. A decent debut, but an unfortunate outcome as the Rockies lost 5-1.

His second game, against the Boston Red Sox, same thing again: walked nobody but gave up five runs and five hits despite five strikeouts, and the Rockies lost 5-3.

Last night, Roy Oswalt refused to stray from consistency, steadfast in maintaining a higher ERA than Francis departed with. In Oswalt’s home debut, he went five innings, fanned five, gave up five runs — including a home run — and yielded one walk to Yasiel Puig and the L.A. Dodgers Road Show. The Rockies lost 8-0, and Puig even got a double off Oswalt before notching his eighth homer against Adam Ottavino.

The Rockies don’t need to drop Roy Oswalt now, nor will they, but they need to seriously consider if Drew Pomeranz is going to be ready for a jump or if they need to make a trade. If Oswalt begins to sink the Rockies with his inability to throw more often outside the zone than not, it may be time to make a move. Will the Rockies make that move after all ready packing Francis’ bags? I doubt it; it will all depend on where they sit in the standings over Oswalt’s next few starts.

If the Rockies continue their losing ways without making a move, they may just let Roy Oswalt play the season out.

The Rockies can ill afford though to willfully gamble on a shot at the playoffs with unsteady pitching and other options. Roy Oswalt hasn’t been around long enough to keep them in second place but has, in fact, done the opposite, taking the loss in all three starts. The losses aren’t entirely his fault; his run support has been four runs for 18 runs given up. The batters haven’t exactly pulled their fair share of the weight together.

Missing Troy Tulowitzki, who is reportedly ahead of schedule and taking light batting practice, and Dexter Fowler removes two key components to making the Rockies work. Fowler had an unsuccessful BP before the game Tuesday and was scratched from the lineup and placed on the DL.

It seems bad news has found a home in the Rockies clubhouse, and it just cannot be shaken. Even Michael Cuddyer had to see his 27-game hit streak come to a halt at the hands of Clayton Kershaw‘s complete-game shutout. The silver lining is still there, though, with the weakness of the NL West and the benefit it has provided the Rockies to go below .500 and still remain close in the standings.

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