September 13 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Whether it’s sports-talk radio or blogs or tweets or even those quaint old things called newspapers, there hasn’t been much griping from Phillies fans lately about the loss of Cliff Lee.
It seems Bob from Bridesburg has been quieted by Roy from Houston.
Each time Roy Oswalt takes the mound for the Phillies these days, the memory of Lee and the brilliance he brought to the club last year before he was traded during the off-season recedes a little more.
Oswalt was at his finest Sunday in the Phillies‘ methodical 3-0 win over the New York Mets at Citi Field. The compactly built righthander needed only 2 hours, 15 minutes and 113 pitches to mow down the Mets in a complete-game four-hitter in which he walked one and struck out six.
It was Oswalt’s sixth consecutive win since he debuted with the Phillies July 30, the day after general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. got him in a deal with the Houston Astros.
“I feel like I got a new life, you know, coming here,” Oswalt said. “I’d been out of playoff contention for about five years, and now we’re on the verge of trying to get back into the playoffs. These guys have been [in the World Series] the last two years, and they’ve got a ring and I don’t. So hopefully I can push them to get another one.”
Oswalt faced the minimum three batters in six innings and didn’t allow a Met to reach second base. Of the 30 batters Oswalt faced, he was ahead in the count 0-2 on 10 of them. He lowered his earned-run average to 1.56 in the eight starts since a shaky debut. The Phillies have won all eight of those starts.
For what it’s worth, Lee returned to the mound Sunday for the first time since Aug. 31. The Texas lefthander had been sidelined with a sore back. He is 2-5 in 11 starts since the Rangers got him from Seattle. Lee has a 3.36 ERA for the season. Oswalt’s ERA is 2.94.
Another Oswalt-Lee comparison: Lee was 7-2 with a 2.67 ERA in his first nine starts with the Phillies; Oswalt is 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA. No wonder the howling wolves have backed away from Amaro’s door.
“I’d say that’s the best game he’s pitched since he’s been here,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “I think the last three, four starts he’s really starting to show who he is as far as composure.”
Oswalt, who raised his career record in September and October to 31-9, said he had benefited not only from the change in scenery, but also from being part of perhaps the top trio of starters in the club’s history. He, Roy Halladay, and Cole Hamels frequently chat among themselves about all things that involve throwing a baseball.”
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