The most commonly mentioned name is Roy Oswalt in Houston. He fits Philly's desire for a top-of-the-line arm and the piece the Phils are supposedly dangling is outfielder Jayson Werth. This is a big mistake for the Phils. The organization is said to be unhappy because Werth is slumping. Well, he's also sporting an OBP of .373 and a slugging percentage of .505. No one stays hot all year long and dealing a guy because he's in a slump is the height of shortsightedness. Though if we want to play that game, Werth had two hits, including a double last night.
What's more, Oswalt is a risky pickup. Maybe a few years ago, when he pitched Houston to the pennant (2005) he was a big-time ace. Now he's a good pitcher, but I would not consider him in the elite. He does pitch in a very hitter-friendly park, but Philadelphia is no different. Furthermore, Oswalt is nearing retirement. Finally, it's safe to assume the Phils would be parting with more than just Werth, as pitchers generally command more return than hitters. For all of these reasons, Philadelphia would be best to sit tight and see if a decent #3 starter can become available, or just retreat to their tents and re-evaluate needs this winter. They made a mistake in trading Cliff Lee, but don't rush out in a panic and let one mistake become two.
Last night's action....
Philly's sparring partner in the NLCS the last two years, the LA Dodgers, is hurting themselves. No sooner does Manny Ramirez come back from the DL, then he goes right back on it, with the same calf problem. The Dodgers then gave up three runs to San Francisco in the ninth and lost a big home game 7-5. Kudos to the Giants middle relief corps of Denny Bautista, Santiago Casillas and Jeremy Affeldt. After the Dodgers chased Tim Lincecum in the fifth, the bullpen gave shutdown work and made the comeback possible.
Elsewhere on the West Coast, there was a battle of middle relief up in Northern California. The Red Sox and A's were tied 4-4 after three innings, but no one scored again until the 10th. At that point, Oakland turned to closer Andrew Bailey who pitched two shutout innings. Jonathan Papelbon needed the night off for Boston and watched as Ramon Ramirez was charged with the winning run in a 5-4 loss. The Red Sox still held pace in the wild-card race, as Baltimore beat Tampa Bay in a wild 11-10 extra inning affair here in Maryland, under the threat of tornadoes through the early part of the night.
The Angels bashed Phil Hughes in New York, hitting three home runs to key a 10-2 rout. No doubt the most satisfying was hit by Hideki Matsui, who was cut loose by the Yankees in the offseason. Although we should note that Matsui's otherwise poor year in Anaheim probably doesn't have Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi second-guessing themselves too much. LAA still can't gain any ground though, as Texas won another one over Detroit, this one 8-0. Talk about answering the bell--the Rangers are 5-1 out of the break on the road against contenders in the Red Sox & Tigers and right at a time when the Angels are winning too.
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