The Mets might have another solid arm in their arsenal.
In Wednesday’s 9-1 loss to the Cardinals, rookie righthander Corey Oswalt impressed. In his MLB debut, Oswalt pitched 4.2 innings of relief after an uninspiring performance from Steven Matz. And while the game itself was forgettable, Oswalt’s performance provided some serenity for the fans.
Oswalt’s work began in the fourth inning under some unfamiliar circumstances. Typically a starter in the minors, he entered the game in a high-leverage relief situation, as he replaced Matz and, in the process, inherited a bases-loaded jam. And although he didn’t give up a hit, two inherited runners would score before the inning’s end. Oswalt then had his proper welcome to the big leagues in the fifth, giving up a single to Met killer Paul DeJong followed by a home run to Jedd Gyorko.
But after he surrendered the bomb, Oswalt found his groove. He hunkered down and delivered a true yeoman’s effort as he finished out the game without allowing a hit or a walk. Most importantly, he preserved the bullpen arms, who got a full night off. Oswalt appeared unfazed by his earlier blemishes, constantly attacking batters and showcasing his full array of pitches. He finished his night of work with a line of two hits, two earned runs, four strikeouts, a hit batsman, and no walks.
It’s hard to gather much good from a blowout loss, but watching a young, homegrown pitcher see his first MLB action was a nice consolation. Oswalt’s debut was a true blue collar performance: He didn’t get the win or the save, and he didn’t finish with dazzling stats or highlights, but he did his job. In the process, he saved Mickey from having to go to the pen in a lopsided game. These are the types of efforts that get rewarded with more opportunity. And while his role for the 2018 season might not yet be defined, expect to see Oswalt in more big league action. He’s earned it.