What, were we supposed to be talking about someone else?
Then again, given that the same evening also saw the city’s last goodbye to one of its favourite sons in Todd Helton, who returned the love and adoration of the home crowd by giving them one last homer to remember him by, I think it’s pretty easy to understand why a pitcher with a 7.71 ERA over just 30.1 IP going into the contest would be forced to exit stage left rather unceremoniously.
Not to say that his last moments in a Rockies jersey in front of the home crowd wasn’t memorable, of course.
In fact, there were four hits, one hit by pitch and a grand slam for the fans to remember him by. It was the most spectacular disaster in an already disastrous season for Oswalt; but more than that, it was the starkest reminder that he may have very well made his last appearance in the big leagues.
That’s not likely to be a problem for the veteran, however, as he’s basically been on the verge of retirement over the last couple of seasons, both partial campaigns in which he joined a team mid-season as a hired gun. Oswalt is savvy enough to know that there’s much more to life than baseball, and with the injury issues he’s experienced with his back, arm and hamstring, it would be tough to seem him coming back even if he was fantastic in 2013.
Coincidentally enough, the baseball gods agree.
See, the most surprising thing about Oswalt’s season isn’t that he owns a 8.90/1.85 ERA/WHIP. Fans who have watched him last year Arlington would probably say they saw this coming — and at Coors? It’s a miracle that it’s not ever higher, no? Nah, the unexpected thing here is that well … the right-hander hasn’t pitched that poorly at all.
No, seriously. That is, if you’re going by the fact that he set down batters with a career-high 9.48 K/9 to a solid 2.59 BB/9, all the while allowing 0.86 HR/9. Oh, and that’s not to mention that he’s induced pop-ups at a career-high rate of 16.7 percent, making that .355 BAA juuust a tad lopsided.
Well, until you see his whopping .451 BABIP, anyway.
I mean, I get it. Oswalt’s stuff has been in decline, and he did allow a career-high 26.2 percent line drive rate this season. But having nearly half of the balls put into play off him turn into hits? Clearly, a greater power is sending him a message here — and it’s not a particularly friendly one.
It’s a shame too, because with 49.7 fWAR accumulated over his career compared to Helton’s 56.0, Oswalt was a star in his own right, and he really does deserve kudos for what he’s accomplished instead of well, you know … getting BABIP’d to death in what might be his last appearance in MLB.