Oswalt, Lincecum show mound mojo
There is something in the way that Roy Oswalt launches himself off the mound that hitters have always found to be a little unnerving. Like a terrier, teeth bared, going for your shins.
Oswalt isn't very big, about 6 feet tall. But he taught himself these mechanics when he was in grade school, imagining himself as a sprinter coming out of the blocks. Right after Oswalt was drafted, some instructors tried talking him out of this delivery; they wanted to turn him into something more conventional. But after he got a sore arm, Oswalt decided to ignore what experts were telling him. This is his personality.
Oswalt is 34 years old and a little heavier than he used to be, with a rickety back. But his self-assuredness -- his mound presence -- was intact as he pitched against the Rockies Friday. Working quickly through his mechanics, Oswalt drove toward the Colorado hitters time and again, his fastball touching 93 mph repeatedly, his slider breaking downward sharply. Just when the Rockies' hitters started taking better swings, seemingly timing Oswalt better, he spun a curveball of 67 mph to Dexter Fowler, a pitch 26 mph slower than his fastball. It was a pitch he used to keep the Rockies' hitters off-balance.
To read Buster Olney's full blog on the pitching performances Friday of Roy Oswalt and Tim Lincecum, plus links and analysis from around baseball, you must be an ESPN Insider.