Oswalt allowed five earned runs and seven hits in seven innings of Friday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Mets, leaving him winless in his last five starts.
The right-hander allowed two home runs, including a grand slam to Cliff Floyd—the first slam he has allowed in his career.
“I was trying to throw a curveball for a strike,” Oswalt said. “A lot of times (with a) 1-0 (count), a guy won’t swing at a curveball. It seems like I was overthrowing it today. I was throwing it 74, 75 (mph). Usually, I have a better spin on it if I throw it at 69, 70.”
Oswalt was named the Astros’ opening day starter this season after going 10-5 with a sparkling 2.97 ERA last year.
However, he has struggled thus far this season, allowing 12 runs in 20 1-3 innings in his last three starts. Oswalt has not won since throwing a complete game in 2-0 victory over Milwaukee on April 16.
Beckett will also be looking to reverse his fortunes. The right-hander, who was named MVP of last season’s World Series, was pounded for a season high-tying six earned runs and nine hits in six innings of Friday’s 6-3 loss to St. Louis.
“Too many balls right down the middle of the plate,” Beckett said. “You can’t do that. I felt good; I thought I had good stuff.”
Beckett pitched a five hitter in the deciding Game 6 of last year’s series against the New York Yankees after winning a career-high nine games during the season.
He has been streaky so far this season, allowing one or fewer earned runs in four of his eight starts and at least four in each of the others.
“A couple of good outings and then a bad one, that’s not a good way to pitch,” said Beckett.
The Astros beat the Marlins 10-2 on Wednesday, one night after pounding them 9-2—at the time, Florida’s most lopsided loss of the season.
Lance Berkman homered for the second time in as many nights, and Jeff Kent and Morgan Ensberg drove in three runs each for the Astros, who have outhit the defending world champions 30-12 in the first two games of the series.
Hee Seop Choi had an inside-the-park homer for the Marlins, who have lost four of five. Manager Jack McKeon scolded the team after the game, but would not reveal what he said.
“We just had a little get together,” he said. “I just told them they’re a better club than this. We’ve got to grind it out, do something different.”