Rockies-Rangers Preview

The Texas Rangers are confident Roy Oswalt is ready to pitch in

the major leagues after a break of more than eight months, and he

feels the same way.

There may not have been a better time for his first outing given

the opponent.

Oswalt will look to continue his dominance of the sputtering

Colorado Rockies when he makes his Rangers debut Friday night in

Arlington.

Texas signed Oswalt on May 29 and he made four starts in the

minors, the last coming Sunday for Triple-A Round Rock. The

right-hander didn’t sign with another team in the offseason and

turned down other offers after the season began.

He made his last start for Philadelphia in Game 4 of the NL

division series – a loss to St. Louis on Oct. 5.

“He’s ready to go,” manager Ron Washington told the team’s

official website. “That’s what we brought him for, to bring him to

the big leagues, and he’s ready. We challenge him now.”

Oswalt said he’s excited to make his first start for Texas after

rebuilding his arm strength during his minor league starts.

“Every player looks forward to the competition. You miss that,”

said Oswalt, who posted a 5.87 ERA in his stint in the minors. “I’m

looking forward to it. I’m hoping to help get this team back in the

playoffs and push them through the last game.”

Oswalt’s history against Colorado suggests he’ll get off to a

good start. He’s 8-2 with a 1.94 ERA in 12 starts versus the

Rockies, marking his best ERA against any of the 16 teams he’s

faced more than three times.

The AL West-leading Rangers (43-27) have won six straight after

Wednesday’s 4-2 victory over San Diego, improving to a major

league-best 12-3 in interleague play.

They’ll face a Rockies team coming off a rare victory.

Colorado (26-42) won for only the second time in 14 games by

beating Philadelphia 4-1 on Thursday. Catcher Wilin Rosario homered

for the second straight day and has 11 to lead all rookies. He’s

hitting .368 over his last five games.

“Rosario had another good game and a big at-bat,” manager Jim

Tracy said. “We have a chance to have a special player on our

hands.”

Carlos Gonzalez, who is hitting .400 over his last nine games

despite going 0 for 4 on Thursday, is 0 for 6 with three strikeouts

versus Oswalt.

“He’s a pretty smart pitcher who’s got really good stuff,”

Gonzalez said. “We just need to see what he’s got and just be

patient and see what he’s gonna (pitch) to us.”

Tracy switched to a four-man rotation and has been limiting his

starters to 75 pitches since Tuesday, and he didn’t hesitate to

remove Jeff Francis after five innings and 76 pitches

Wednesday.

“No, and the reason why is if we’re going to find out about

this, we have to continue to do it,” Tracy said.

Christian Friedrich (4-3, 5.60 ERA) is next up to test Tracy’s

unorthodox method.

The left-hander hasn’t thrown fewer than 93 pitches this season,

tossing 98 in losing each of his last two starts. Friedrich allowed

nine runs in four innings of a home loss to the Los Angeles Angels

on June 10, then gave up two earned runs in five innings in

Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at Detroit.

Though the rookie is 1-2 with a 12.60 ERA in three starts at

Coors Field, he’s 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in five road outings.

Texas has outscored opponents 54-26 while going 9-1 in its last

10 games.