Roy Oswalt

Roy Oswalt (/ˈoʊzwɑːlt/; born August 29, 1977) is a former American professional baseball pitcher who played for the majority of his career with the Houston Astros. He also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Texas Rangers, and the Colorado Rockies.

Oswalt was selected by the Astros in the 1996 MLB draft. He made his major league debut with the club in 2001 and finished with a win–loss record of 14–3. He was a back-to-back 20-game winner in 2004 and 2005. He helped the Astros to their first World Series appearance in 2005, and was named Most Valuable Player of the 2005 National League Championship Series (NLCS). When he left the Astros in 2010 his wins (143) and strikeout total (1,593) was second in franchise history to Joe Niekro (144) and Nolan Ryan (1,866). He is a three-time All-Star, selected from 2005 to 2007.[1] As of the 2012 season his career strikeout total was in the top 100 all-time.

As a member of Team USA, Oswalt won a gold medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Roy Oswalt
Roy Oswalt 2008 (2)
Oswalt with the Houston Astros in 2008
Pitcher
Born: August 29, 1977 (age 41)
Weir, Mississippi
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 6, 2001, for the Houston Astros
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 2013, for the Colorado Rockies
MLB statistics
Win–loss record163–102
Earned run average3.36
Strikeouts1,852
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Roy Oswalt
Medal record
Men's baseball
Representing  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2000 Sydney Team

Early life

Oswalt was born and raised in Weir, Mississippi, the son of Billy Joe and Jean Oswalt. Billy was a Vietnam War veteran and logger. Roy grew up with his older brother, Brian, and their older sister, Patricia.[2] Jean was an avid baseball fan and taught her kids about the game.[3] Oswalt grew up rooting for the Atlanta Braves.[2]

Oswalt joined the Weir High School football team as a quarterback and the baseball team as a pitcher. He could throw in the mid 80s with good control, but his relatively slight stature (5'10", 150 lbs.) scared away scouts.[3] Oswalt reflected, "I always heard that I was too small."[2] Weir itself was very small in size, making it difficult for scouts to hear about Oswalt. Nonetheless, he was recruited to join the baseball team at Holmes Community College.[3]

Professional career

Minor league career

Oswalt was spotted by only one major league scout, James Farrar of the Houston Astros. Convinced that Oswalt's anonymity kept him hidden from other teams, the Astros allowed him to drop into the 23rd round of the 1996 Major League Baseball draft. By this point, Oswalt had drawn the attention of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, for whom he had long wanted play. The Astros enticed Oswalt with a $500,000 signing bonus,[3] and he signed with the club on May 18, 1997.[4]

In 1997, Oswalt played rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League, where he gave up only two runs in five starts. He was then called up to the Auburn Doubledays of the New York–Penn League, where he went 2–4 the rest of the way.[3][5]

He split 1998 between the same two teams. In 16 innings of work with the Gulf Coast Astros, he struck out 27 batters and walked just one. He was promoted again to Auburn, where he recorded the league's fourth-lowest ERA (2.18).

In 1999, when Oswalt was with the Class A Michigan Battle Cats in the Midwest League, he suffered an apparently serious shoulder injury. After a month of pain in his upper shoulder, Oswalt was convinced that his shoulder was torn. Shortly thereafter, he was checking the spark plug wires on his pickup truck. He touched one of the spark plug wires, causing the truck's engine to start. The truck's electric current flowed through Oswalt's body, and consequently the muscles in his hand tightened on the spark plug wire. Unable to let go of it, Oswalt grasped the wire for almost one minute. Oswalt then claimed his foot slipped off the truck's bumper and he was finally "thrown off." After the electric shock, Oswalt told his wife that his shoulder's condition improved and that he no longer felt any pain. According to Sports Illustrated, he reported it thus to his wife: "My truck done shocked the fire out of me, and my arm don't hurt no more."[6] Apparently, the electric charge loosened accumulated scar tissue in the shoulder. Oswalt claims he has not felt any pain in his shoulder since the incident.[7] He finished 1999 with 143 strikeouts and a club-high 13 wins.

Oswalt began 2000 with the Class A Kissimmee Cobras of the Florida State League, going 4–3 with a 2.98 ERA before a player injury on Class AA Round Rock Express of the Texas League led to his promotion. Oswalt was only expected to pitch a few games and had been given a round-trip ticket. But after striking out 15 batters in his first start with the Express, manager Jackie Moore tore up his ticket. Nolan Ryan, owner of the Express and Oswalt's idol, admired his calm demeanor and his aggressiveness so much that he successfully lobbied to keep Oswalt on the roster, where he would go 11–4 with a 1.94 ERA, and recording 141 strikeouts over 19 games (18 starts). It was here that he met pitching coach Mike Maddux, who counseled the young Oswalt to be economical in his pitch selection by throwing more breaking balls and inducing groundouts early in the count.

As a result of his success at Round Rock, Oswalt was selected to play on the U.S. Olympic baseball team at the 2000 Summer Olympics. In Olympic baseball competition, Oswalt pitched in the semi-finals against South Korea, a game that the U.S. won with a walk-off home run by Doug Mientkiewicz en route to their gold medal finish. Oswalt struck out ten and allowed two runs (1.38 ERA) in his two starts.[8]

In 2001, Oswalt started the season with the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs, where he went 2–3 before being called up to the major leagues when left-hander Wayne Franklin was optioned down.[5]

Major league career

Houston Astros (2001–2009)

Roy oswalt
Roy Oswalt on May 1, 2005.

Oswalt finished his rookie campaign in 2001 with a 14–3 record and a 2.73 ERA, including a 12–2 mark with a 2.82 ERA in his 20 starts. He finished second in voting for National League Rookie of the Year, losing unanimously to Albert Pujols. He also placed fifth in Cy Young Award voting, which was won by Randy Johnson. He won the Sporting News NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year Award. He pitched 24 consecutive scoreless innings before giving up a home run to Andrés Galarraga of the San Francisco Giants.

The 2002 season was another step forward for Oswalt, who finished the season with a 19–9 record, striking out a career-high 208 batters and finishing with an ERA of 3.01. He tied with Éric Gagné for fourth in Cy Young voting, losing once again to Johnson.[9] From July 27 to September 8, he won a then-club record 9 straight starts before getting a no-decision in an extra innings' Astros loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Injuries plagued Oswalt in 2003, but he still recorded a 10–5 record over 21 starts. He started a team no-hitter against the New York Yankees on June 11. Oswalt left after one inning, and 5 more Astros continued to no-hit the Yankees.

He rebounded in 2004 with the first 20-win season of his career, the only National League (NL) pitcher to do so that year. He went 20–10 despite a career-high 3.49 ERA, and struck out 206 batters. He finished third in Cy Young Award voting, behind his teammate Roger Clemens and, once again, Randy Johnson.[10] He also made his first postseason appearance, going 1–0 with a 4.19 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance. He threw two complete-game shutouts during the season, both against the Milwaukee Brewers. He led all NL starters with the fastest average fastball, at 94.0 miles per hour (151.3 km/h).[11] He won the Darryl Kile Award.

In 2005, Oswalt threw a career-high 241​23 innings, striking out 184 batters and only walking 48 on the way to his second consecutive 20-win season — the first Astro to do so since Joe Niekro in 1979–80. He notched a 20–12 record, including a career-best 10-game winning streak from April 10 to July 26, with a 2.94 ERA, and was named to his first Major League Baseball All-Star Game as the National League All-Star Final Vote winner. He was fourth in Cy Young Award balloting, won by Chris Carpenter. In the postseason that year, Oswalt started 4 games and went 3–0. His two seven inning one-run performances netted him the NLCS MVP award, including a three-hit seven strikeout game in Game 6.

Roy Oswalt 2010 crop
Oswalt pitching for the Houston Astros in 2010

Oswalt went 15–8 in 2006 and was named to his second consecutive All-Star team and his final ERA led NL (2.94), and also struck out 166 batters while walking 38. On August 29, 2006, Oswalt's 29th birthday, he signed a five-year extension with the Astros totaling $73 million with an option for a 6th year.[12] He again finished fourth in Cy Young Award voting, won by Brandon Webb. On September 18, while pitching against the Cincinnati Reds, Oswalt recorded his 1,000th strikeout, becoming the eighth player in Astros history to reach the milestone.

Before the 2007 season, Roy Oswalt received the second-highest Pitcher Player Value Ranking from Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview Edition. He was rated the best in the NL ahead of Brandon Webb and Chris Carpenter, and was only below the 2006 Triple Crown winner Johan Santana. On July 5, 2007, it was announced Oswalt would replace an injured John Smoltz on the National League All-Star team, making it Oswalt's third consecutive All-Star game appearance. He did not pitch in the All-Star Game, however. On August 13, 2007, Sports Illustrated named Oswalt as one of the top five pitchers (along with Santana, Roy Halladay, Jake Peavy, and Justin Verlander).[13] On September 26, 2007, it was reported that Oswalt was suffering from pain in his left side and it was decided to shut him down for the remainder of the season so as not to risk a more serious injury.[14] He finished the 2007 season throwing 212 innings, his fourth consecutive year of 200 or more innings pitched, a 14–7 record, an ERA of 3.18 and 154 strikeouts.

Although he started off the 2008 season slowly (0–3, 9.00 ERA), a solid second half helped Oswalt reach his highest win total since 2005. Oswalt was able to accomplish this despite landing on the disabled list on July 19 for the first time since 2006. He also set an Astros team record with 32​13 scoreless innings.[15] He finished the 2008 season throwing 208​23 innings, his fifth consecutive year of 200 or more innings pitched, a 17–10 record, an ERA of 3.54 and 165 strikeouts.

Oswalt is one of 10 major league pitchers who won at least 11 games in each year from 2004 to 2008.

In 2009, Oswalt played for the United States in the World Baseball Classic, appearing in two games. He was the winning pitcher in the contest versus the Netherlands, but was pulled from the semifinal against Japan in the fourth inning after giving up 6 runs.

Philadelphia Phillies (2010–2011)

On July 29, Oswalt was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies for J. A. Happ and two minor league players, center fielder Anthony Gose, and shortstop Jonathan Villar, playing for Class-A Advanced and Class-A, respectively.[16][17]

On August 24, Oswalt became the first Phillies pitcher to field in a non-pitching position in 39 years. In a game against the Houston Astros, Phillies' first baseman Ryan Howard was ejected after arguing a checked swing to end the top of the 15th inning. Out of offensive reserves, the Phillies moved left fielder Raúl Ibañez to first base and sent Oswalt to play left field. Oswalt acquired one putout in the outfield, but later hit into the final out of the Phillies loss by grounding out in the bottom of the 16th inning. The previous Phillies pitcher to play a position was Bill Wilson, who played third base for one-third of an inning on August 6, 1971.[18]

IMG 1405 Roy Oswalt
Oswalt pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010

On September 12, Oswalt pitched his first complete game as a Phillie in a 3–0 win against the New York Mets, allowing four hits and striking out six.

In the 2010 NLDS, Oswalt pitched Game 2 of the Phillies' three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds; he gave up 4 runs in 5 innings, but the Phillies came back to win 7–4. In the 2010 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants, Oswalt won Game 2 by allowing only 1 run in 8 innings. Oswalt entered Game 4 in the bottom of the ninth inning, attempting to preserve a tie game, but took the loss. In Game 6, Oswalt allowed 2 runs in 6 innings but left with the game tied; the Giants later broke the tie to win that game and the series.

Going into the 2011 season, the Phillies' top four pitchers (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Oswalt, and Cole Hamels) were widely touted as constituting one of the best starting rotations in history.[19]

After a strong start to the 2011 season, Oswalt took a leave of absence from the Phillies on April 27, 2011, citing "personal reasons", namely to check on his family and home after a series of devastating tornadoes in Mississippi.[20] He later spent several weeks on the disabled list due to a back injury. Overall, his season was considered to be disappointing, perhaps due to his back problems.[19]

In the 2011 NLDS, Oswalt started Game 4 with the Phillies leading the St. Louis Cardinals 2 games to 1 and needing only one more win to advance. Oswalt allowed 5 runs in 6 innings and took the loss. The Phillies also lost Game 5 and were eliminated from the playoffs.

After the 2011 season for the Phillies, the team declined his option, thus making him a free agent.

Free agency (2012)

Oswalt was regarded as one of the top starters on the free agent market and was courted by several teams. ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that Oswalt, only 34 years old and up to that point an elite pitcher, was holding out for the hope of a large salary from a team relatively close to his hometown of Weir, Mississippi.[21] However, several of the teams on Oswalt's list were not interested, and Stark reported that Oswalt's performance in 2011 prevented other teams from offering the money he expected.[21]

Roy Oswalt on June 7, 2012
Oswalt during his tenure with the Round Rock Express, triple-A affiliates of the Rangers, in 2012

Texas Rangers (2012)

On May 29, it was reported that Oswalt had signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers.[22]

To get back to form, Roy started four games in the Rangers' minor league system; three games for the Triple-A Round Rock Express and one for the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders. Throughout the four starts, he went 1–1 with a 5.87 ERA.

On June 20, the Rangers announced that Oswalt would make his first start with the major league club on Friday, June 22, a home game against the Colorado Rockies. In his debut with the Rangers, Oswalt pitched 6​23 innings. He collected 6 strikeouts, while surrendering 9 hits and one earned run. He received an ovation from the crowd as he exited.

On July 31, the Rangers moved Oswalt to the bullpen after the acquisition of Ryan Dempster.[23]

On August 23, Oswalt made a spot start against the Tampa Bay Rays to give Matt Harrison an extra day of rest. However, he was removed after two innings with soreness in his elbow. On September 11, he was diagnosed with a right forearm strain and did not throw for several days. His first appearance since the injury was on September 24 in a game against the Oakland Athletics. He pitched two scoreless innings of relief. The next day, he pitched 1.1 innings.[24]

Colorado Rockies (2013)

Oswalt agreed to a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies on May 2, 2013.[25] He made his Rockies debut on June 20 against the Washington Nationals, pitching 5 innings and giving up 4 earned runs on 9 hits with 11 strikeouts.

Oswalt retired after the season and went to work for his former agent.[26][27] Oswalt, along with former teammate Lance Berkman signed a one-day contract with Houston to officially retire as an Astro on April 5, 2014.[28]

Oswalt was eligible to be elected into the Hall of Fame in 2019, but received less than 5% of the vote and became ineligible for the 2020 ballot.

Pitching style

Oswalt threw the following five pitches:[29]

  • Four-seam fastball – His main pitch, 91–94 miles per hour (146–151 km/h)
  • Two-seam fastball – 90–93 miles per hour (145–150 km/h)
  • Curveball – 68–72 miles per hour (109–116 km/h)
  • Changeup – 81–84 miles per hour (130–135 km/h)
  • Slider – 83–85 miles per hour (134–137 km/h)

Oswalt's repertoire and approach evolved over time. His changeup was originally a rarely used circle change. However, in 2010, he changed the grip to make it more similar to a "fosh" grip. Originally a fastball-curveball pitcher, Oswalt made his changeup part of his standard repertoire.[30][31] He threw it only 4% of the time in 2008, but that jumped to 19% by 2011.[29] He says it also helped compensate for slightly reduced fastball velocity as a result of his age.[31]

His curveball was a common 2-strike offering, and his changeup was frequently used in those counts to right-handed hitters. He also often used the change as a substitute for a fastball when he was behind in the count.[29] He liked to work his fastball high in the strike zone: "It's often the best pitch for me to throw to a guy who is sitting on a fastball. If I throw it high, a lot of times he'll swing and not catch up to it."[31][32]

Oswalt had good control throughout his career. He appeared in the top 10 in the National League in BB/9 rate seven times, as well as six times in strikeout-to-walk ratio. He also finished four seasons without making an error.[33]

Oswalt was known as one of the faster workers in baseball in terms of time between pitches.[34][35]

Personal life

Oswalt is married, and has three daughters.[2][36]

He is a hobbyist of deer hunting. He has won Weir's buck hunting contest multiple times, thanks in part to the 1,000-acre (400 ha) property he co-owns with his brother in nearby Kosciusko.[6]

See also

References

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d Ortiz, Jose De Jesus (March 1, 2006). Houston Astros: Armed and Dangerous. Sports Publishing LLC. pp. 178–192. ISBN 9781596700710. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Roy Oswalt Biography". JockBio. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  4. ^ "Roy Oswalt Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Roy Oswalt Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Hoffer, Richard (February 27, 2006). "Big Game Hunter". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  7. ^ "The Sparkplug Incident". ESPN.com.
  8. ^ "Sydney 10 years later: Roy Oswalt". USABaseball.com. August 9, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  9. ^ "2002 Awards Voting". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  10. ^ "2004 Awards Voting". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  11. ^ "Major League Leaderboard – 2004". FanGraphs.com. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  12. ^ "Oswalt, Astros agree to 5-year, $73 million extension". ESPN.com. Associated Press. August 31, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2009.
  13. ^ "Current Dream Team". Sports Illustrated. August 14, 2007. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  14. ^ "Oswalt Shut Down".
  15. ^ Footer, Alyson (September 12, 2008). "Oswalt a shutout machine once more". MLB.com. Retrieved October 19, 2009.
  16. ^ "Source: Oswalt headed to Phillies".
  17. ^ "Oswalt accepts trade to Phillies".
  18. ^ "Roy Oswalt, outfielder – SBNation.com". sbnation.com. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  19. ^ a b Cliff Corcoran 2011. Phillies' much-hyped rotation even better than expected, Sports Illustrated, Published September 21, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  20. ^ Murphy, David. "Oswalt Returns to Miss. Home Following Tornado Activity". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  21. ^ a b Jayson Stark 2012, The market for Roy Oswalt, ESPN.com. Published May 24, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  22. ^ Durrett, Richard (May 30, 2012). "Roy Oswalt, Rangers reach terms". ESPNDallas.com. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  23. ^ "Roy Oswalt demoted to bullpen, Ryan Dempster to start Thursday for Rangers". Sports Illustrated. July 31, 2012. Archived from the original on August 1, 2012.
  24. ^ "Rangers' Oswalt has right forearm strain". Yahoo!. Associated Press. September 11, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  25. ^ "Rockies sign pitcher Roy Oswalt to Minor League deal – MLB.com: News". mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  26. ^ Adams, Steve (February 11, 2014). "Roy Oswalt Retires". MLBTradeRumors.com. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  27. ^ Olney, Buster (February 11, 2014). "Roy Oswalt decides to retire". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  28. ^ "Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt retire". ESPN.com. April 5, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  29. ^ a b c "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool – Player Card: Roy Oswalt". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  30. ^ Murphy, David (September 17, 2010). "Phillies' Oswalt tells gripping story of learning to like the changeup". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on September 17, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
  31. ^ a b c Laurila, David (September 7, 2012). "Q&A: Roy Oswalt, Evolution of a Career". Fangraphs. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  32. ^ "PitchFX Pitcher Profile: Roy Oswalt". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  33. ^ "Roy Oswalt Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  34. ^ Botero, Andres (May 28, 2012). "MLB Rumors: Why Roy Oswalt Would Be Perfect Signing for Philadelphia Phillies". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  35. ^ Wilson, Jeff (June 22, 2012). "Roy Oswalt tops Rockies in solid debut for Rangers". Star-Telegram. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  36. ^ Fox, Ashley (May 6, 2011). "Oswalt's absence makes priorities clear – family first". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philly.com. Retrieved September 12, 2012.

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Curt Schilling
Derek Lowe
National League Pitcher of the month
August 2002
September 2006
Succeeded by
Randy Johnson
John Maine
Preceded by
Kevin Millwood
No-hit game
June 11, 2003
(with Munro, Saarloos, Lidge, Dotel, & Wagner)
Succeeded by
Randy Johnson
2003 Houston Astros season

The Houston Astros' 2003 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the National League Central.

2004 National League Division Series

The 2004 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 2004 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 5, and ended on Monday, October 11, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. They were:

(1) St. Louis Cardinals (Central Division champion, 105–57) vs. (3) Los Angeles Dodgers (Western Division champion, 93–69): Cardinals win series, 3–1.

(2) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 96–66) vs. (4) Houston Astros (Wild Card, 92–70): Astros win series, 3–2.The St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Cardinals became the National League champion, and lost to the American League champion Boston Red Sox in the 2004 World Series.

2005 Houston Astros season

The Houston Astros' 2005 season was a season in which the Houston Astros qualified for the postseason for the second consecutive season. The Astros overcame a sluggish 15–30 start to claim the wild card playoff spot, and would go on to win the National League pennant to advance to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. It was longtime Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell's final season and first World Series appearance.

2005 National League Championship Series

The 2005 National League Championship Series (NLCS), the second round of the 2005 National League playoffs, matched the Central Division champion and defending league champion St. Louis Cardinals against the wild card qualifier Houston Astros, a rematch of the 2004 NLCS. The Cardinals, by virtue of having the best record in the NL during the 2005 season, had the home-field advantage. The Astros won the series four games to two, and became the National League champions; they faced the American League champion Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series, where the Astros lost to the White Sox in a sweep in four games.

The Cardinals and Astros were victorious in the NL Division Series (NLDS), with the Cardinals defeating the West Division champion San Diego Padres three games to none, and the Astros defeating the East Division champion Atlanta Braves three games to one. St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, who won AL pennants with the Oakland Athletics in 1988–89–90 and the NL flag in 2004, fell short in his bid to become the first manager in history to win multiple pennants in both major leagues, although he did so in 2006 and again in 2011. The NLCS also closed with the last game ever played at St. Louis' Busch Stadium (II), which the Cardinals departed after 40 seasons.

2005 National League Division Series

The 2005 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 2005 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 4, and ended on Sunday, October 9, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. They were:

(1) St. Louis Cardinals (Central Division champions, 100–62) vs. (3) San Diego Padres (Western Division champions, 82–80): Cardinals win series, 3–0.

(2) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champions, 90–72) vs. (4) Houston Astros (Wild Card, 89–73): Astros win series, 3–1.The Cardinals and Astros went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Astros became the National League champion, and lost to the American League champion Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series.

2006 Major League Baseball season

The 2006 Major League Baseball season ended with the National League's St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series with the lowest regular season victory total in a non-strike season in history. The American League continued its domination at the All-Star Game by winning its fourth straight game; the A.L. has won nine of the last ten contests (the 2002 game was a tie). This season, the Atlanta Braves failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 1990. Individual achievements included Barry Bonds who, despite questions surrounding his alleged steroid use and involvement in the BALCO scandal, surpassed Babe Ruth for second place on the career home runs list.

2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 78th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10, 2007, at AT&T Park, the home of the NL's San Francisco Giants. It marked the third time that the Giants hosted the All Star Game since moving to San Francisco for the 1958 season. The 1961 and 1984 All Star Games were played at the Giants former home Candlestick Park, and the fourth overall in the Bay Area, with the Giants bay area rivals the Oakland Athletics hosting once back in 1987, and the second straight held in an NL ballpark.

The American League defeated the National League by a score of 5–4. Ichiro Suzuki won the MVP award for the game for hitting the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star history. As per the 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the American League champion (which eventually came to be the Boston Red Sox) received home field advantage in the 2007 World Series. The victory was the 10th consecutive (excluding the 2002 tie) for the AL, and their 11-game unbeaten streak is only beaten by the NL's 11-game winning streak from 1972 to 1982 in All-Star history.

2010 Houston Astros season

The 2010 Houston Astros season was the 49th season in the history of the franchise. The team, managed by first-year manager Brad Mills, began their 11th season at Minute Maid Park and 46th as the Astros on April 5. After finishing 74–88 the year before in 5th place, the Astros finished 76–86 in 4th place in 2010.

The Astros struggled in April. After starting the season 0–8, they finished April 8–14, despite a 3.92 ERA from their pitching staff. They lost the last four in April, as well as the first four in May for a second 8-game losing streak. They finished May with a 9–20 mark to give the Astros a 17–34 record over the first two months. The Astros rebounded to win 8 of their first 10 games in June, but struggled in Interleague play, going 2–10 against the AL in June to finish 14–14 in June.

The Astros lone representative to the All-star Game was Michael Bourn, who was batting .255 with 28 stolen bases. The Astros traded away Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman in late July for a total of 5 prospects, and ultimately the Astros went 13–11 in July. The Astros would go 34–27 after trading away Oswalt and Berkman. The Astros won the final four games of July and the first three of August for a season-high 7-game winning streak, capped by a season-high 18–4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Astros would have their best month of the year in August by going 17–12, including a four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies, the first time the Phillies were swept in Citizens Bank Park. The Astros would experience their third consecutive winning month in September, going 14–13, however the poor months of April and May kept them out of contention down the stretch. They finished the season in Chicago to face the Cubs, losing 2 of 3, but still finishing 4th ahead of the Cubs.

Jeff Keppinger led the Astros in batting average with a .288 clip, while Hunter Pence led them in home runs (25) and RBIs (91). Brett Myers led the Astros in wins (14), ERA (3.14), and Strikeouts (180) in a career year, where he went 6 innings in his first 32 starts. Michael Bourn his 2nd consecutive Gold Glove Award to go along with his All-Star selection.

2010 National League Championship Series

The 2010 National League Championship Series (NLCS) was a best-of-seven game Major League Baseball playoff series that pitted the winners of the 2010 National League Division Series—the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants—against each other for the National League Championship. The Giants won the series, 4–2, and went on to win the 2010 World Series. The series, the 41st in league history, began on October 16 and ended on October 23. The Phillies had home field advantage as a result of their better regular-season record. The Phillies hosted Games 1, 2 and 6, while the Giants were at home for Games 3, 4 and 5.

The Giants would go on to defeat the Texas Rangers in the World Series in five games, winning their first World Series championship since 1954, and their first since relocating to San Francisco from New York City back in 1958, ending the Curse of Coogan's Bluff.

Bill Hohn

William John Hohn (born June 29, 1955) is a former Major League Baseball umpire from 1987–99 and 2002–10. Hohn's uniform number was 29.

Houston Astros award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Houston Astros professional baseball team.

Jonathan Villar

Jonathan Rafael Villar Roque (born May 2, 1991) is a Dominican professional baseball second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in MLB for the Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers. Prior to 2017, Villar was primarily a shortstop.

Kissimmee Cobras

The Kissimmee Cobras were a Florida State League baseball team based in Kissimmee, Florida that played from 1995 to 2000. They were affiliated with the Houston Astros and played their home games at Osceola County Stadium. Prior to 1995, the team was known as the Osceola Astros from 1985 to 1994.

List of Houston Astros Opening Day starting pitchers

The Houston Astros are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Houston, Texas. They currently play in the American League West division. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day. The Houston Astros have used 21 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 49 seasons. The 20 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 20 wins, 21 losses and 9 no decisions. No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game.The Astros began to play in 1962 as the Houston Colt .45s (their name was changed to the Astros in 1965 when the Houston Astrodome opened as their home ball park). Bobby Shantz started their first Opening Day game on April 10, 1962 against the Chicago Cubs at Houston's Colt Stadium and was credited with the win. In their first eight seasons, the Colt .45s / Astros used eight different Opening Day starters. In 1970, that streak ended when Larry Dierker made his second Opening Day start.Roy Oswalt has made the most Opening Day starts for the Astros, with eight such starts from 2003 through 2010. Three different pitchers have each made five Opening Day starts for the Astros: J. R. Richard (1976–1980), Mike Scott (1987–1991) and Shane Reynolds (1996–2000). Dierker made four Opening Day starts for the Astros, and Joe Niekro and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan made three apiece. Dierker has the best record in Opening Day starts with four wins and no losses. Niekro and Don Wilson share the worst record in Opening Day starts with no wins and two losses each. Niekro also had one no decision.The Astros have played in three home ball parks. Their first home ball park was Colt Stadium. Their starting pitchers had one win and one loss in their two Opening Day games at Colt Stadium. They played 25 Opening Day games in the Astrodome after moving there in 1965, and their starting pitchers had a record of 12 wins, 8 losses and 5 no decisions in those games. In 2000, they moved to Enron Field (subsequently renamed Astros Field and Minute Maid Park) in Downtown Houston. Through 2010, they have played nine Opening Day games there, and their starting pitchers have a record of three wins, four losses and two no decisions in those games. This makes the record of the Astros' Opening Day starting pitchers in home games 16 wins, 13 losses and 7 no decisions. Their record in Opening Day away games is four wins, eight losses and two no decisions. The Astros have advanced to the World Series once, in 2005. Oswalt lost to the St. Louis Cardinals as the Opening Day starter that season.

List of Houston Astros no-hitters

The Houston Astros (formerly known as the Houston Colt .45s from 1962–64) are a Major League Baseball franchise based in Houston, Texas. Formed in 1962, they play in the American League West division (formerly in the National League Central division until 2012). Pitchers for the Astros have thrown eleven no-hitters in franchise history, the most of all of MLB's expansion teams added since 1961. A no-hitter is officially recognized by Major League Baseball only "when a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no hits during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings", though one or more batters "may reach base via a walk, an error, a hit by pitch, a passed ball or wild pitch on strike three, or catcher's interference". No-hitters of less than nine complete innings were previously recognized by the league as official; however, several rule alterations in 1991 changed the rule to its current form. A no-hitter is rare enough that one team in Major League Baseball has never had a pitcher accomplish the feat. No perfect games, a special subcategory of no-hitter, have been thrown in Astros history. As defined by Major League Baseball, "in a perfect game, no batter reaches any base during the course of the game."Don Nottebart threw the first no-hitter in Astros history on May 17, 1963; the most recent no-hitter was thrown by Mike Fiers on August 21, 2015. No left-handed starting pitchers have thrown no-hitters in franchise history. The longest interval between no-hitters was between a combined no-hitter led by Roy Oswalt and that thrown by Fiers, encompassing 12 years, 2 months and 10 days from June 11, 2003 to August 21, 2015. Conversely, the shortest interval between no-hitters was between the games pitched by Nottebart and Ken Johnson, encompassing 11 months and 6 days from May 17, 1963 to April 23, 1964. They no-hit the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers the most, which occurred twice. There are three no-hitters in which the team allowed at least a run, by Nottebart in 1963, Johnson in 1964 (which was a 9-inning home loss), and Kile in 1993. The most baserunners allowed in a no-hitter was by Wilson (in 1969), who allowed eight. Nine no-hitters were thrown at home, and two on the road. The Astros have thrown two no-hitters in April, two in May, two in June, one in July, one in August, and three in September. Of the eleven no-hitters, two have been won by a score of 2–0, and two others by the score of 6–0, more common than any other result. The largest margin of victory in a no-hitter was an 8–0 combined effort led by Oswalt in 2003. The smallest margin of victory was 2–0 wins by Wilson in 1967 and Mike Scott in 1986.

The umpire is also an integral part of any no-hitter. The task of the umpire in a baseball game is to make any decision “which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out… [the umpire’s judgment on such matters] is final.” Part of the duties of the umpire making calls at home plate includes defining the strike zone, which "is defined as that area over homeplate (sic) the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap." These calls define every baseball game and are therefore integral to the completion of any no-hitter. A different umpire presided over each of the franchise’s eleven no-hitters.

The manager is another integral part of any no-hitter. The tasks of the manager include determining the starting rotation as well as batting order and defensive lineup every game. Seven different managers have involved in the franchise’s eleven no-hitters.

Luis Atilano

Luis A. Atilano (born May 10, 1985) is a Puerto Rican former professional baseball. Selected by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 2003 amateur draft, Atilano was traded to the Washington Nationals on August 31, 2006, for veteran utilityman Daryle Ward.Atilano spent the beginning of the 2006 season pitching for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the high A-level Carolina League, where he accrued a win-loss record of 6–7 and an ERA of 4.50 in 18 starts and 1 relief appearance. After struggling at the beginning of the season, he went 3–0 with a 2.89 ERA in July. He pitched two complete games for Myrtle Beach during 2006, but an elbow injury suffered in early August ended his season.Atilano was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse, by the Nationals, to replace injured Jason Marquis on April 22, 2010. He allowed one run on five hits in a 5–1 Nationals victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 23, 2010, his first major league start and first major league win. He started off the season well, going 5–1 in his first six decisions—which included consecutive victories over Tim Lincecum and Roy Oswalt. But then he fell to 6–7 with a 5.15 ERA, and underwent surgery in July to remove bone chips in his elbow. At the start of Spring Training in February 2011, he was designated for assignment and removed from the 40-man roster.On December 9, 2011, he signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds, and he played for their organization through the 2012 season. Atilano lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Oswalt

Oswalt is a German surname or male given name, which is derived from the Old English given name Oswald. The name may refer to:

John N. Oswalt (born 1940), American scholar

Oswalt Kolle (1928–2010), German sex educator

Patton Oswalt (born 1969), American actor and comedian

Roy Oswalt (born 1977), American baseball player

Philadelphia Phillies all-time roster (N–O)

The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The team has played officially under two names since beginning play in 1883: the current moniker, as well as the "Quakers", which was used in conjunction with "Phillies" during the team's early history. The team was also known unofficially as the "Blue Jays" during the World War II era. Since the franchise's inception, 2,006 players have made an appearance in a competitive game for the team, whether as an offensive player (batting and baserunning) or a defensive player (fielding, pitching, or both).

Of those 2,006 Phillies, 33 have had surnames beginning with the letter N, and 26 beginning with the letter O. One member of this list has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; pitcher Kid Nichols played two seasons for the Phillies (1905–1906). No Phillies players with surnames beginning with N or O have been inducted into the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame; however, Paul Owens was a team manager, general manager, and executive from 1972 to 2003. No members of this list hold franchise records, nor have any numbers been retired for them.Among the 33 batters in this list, Lefty O'Doul has the highest batting average, at .391; he played for the Phillies during the 1929 and 1930 seasons. Other players with an average over .300 include Lou Novikoff (.304 in one season; the only player whose surname begins with N to bat over .300), Dink O'Brien (.333 in one season), and Al Oliver (.312 in one season). Ron Northey leads all members of this list with 60 home runs and 273 runs batted in; among players whose surname begins with O, O'Doul leads with 54 and 219, respectively.Of this list's 28 pitchers, three share the best win–loss record, in terms of winning percentage: Red Nelson, Jerry Nops, and Eddie Oropesa each have a 1.000 winning percentage, Nelson having won two games and lost none, and Nops and Oropesa each winning one game without a loss. Al Orth, in his seven seasons as a Phillies, accumulated 100 victories and 72 defeats, tops in both categories on this list; among pitchers whose surname begins with N, Nichols' 10 wins and Dickie Noles' 11 losses are highest. Orth and Noles also lead their respective lists in strikeouts: Orth with 359, and Noles with 133. Roy Oswalt's 1.74 earned run average (ERA) is the lowest among members of this list; of the pitchers whose surname begins with N, Nichols' 2.83 ERA is best.One player, Jack Neagle, has made 30% or more of his Phillies appearances as a pitcher and a position player. He amassed a 1–7 pitching record with a 6.90 ERA while batting in four runs as a left fielder.

Vulcan changeup

In baseball, the vulcan changeup pitch (otherwise known as a vulcan or trekkie) is a type of changeup; it closely resembles a forkball and split-finger fastball. It is a variation of the circle changeup, and when mastered can be extremely effective. Much like a forkball, the vulcan is gripped between two fingers on the hand, but rather than the middle and index finger as with the forkball or split-finger fastball, it sits in between the middle and ring fingers to make a v-shape (Vulcan salute) when releasing to the catcher. It is thrown with fastball arm speed but by pronating the hand by turning the thumb down, to get good downward movement on it.

The pitch is uncommon in Major League Baseball. Ian Kennedy throws this style of changeup instead of others because he "found it more comfortable and had more movement". Among the others who have thrown it are John Gant, former relievers Randy Tomlin and Joe Nelson, and most notably former all-star closer Éric Gagné, for whom the vulcan changeup was considered one of his best pitches. Roy Oswalt adopted this pitch during the 2010 offseason and preferred it over the circle changeup.Nelson explained his choice for naming the pitch: "It was either going to be Nanu Nanu or the Vulcan. Spock just seemed like a cooler character than Mork." The pitch has been nicknamed the "Trekkie", because of the Vulcan symbol, from the television show Star Trek, that appears in the grip of the ball.

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