Roy Oswalt(notes) got a first-hand look at what was left of his hometown after a tornado ripped through it. Facing the Cincinnati Reds could help the Houston Astros ace continue to move past the devastation that was left behind.
Oswalt looks to continue his dominance of the Reds while helping the Astros come away with a victory in the finale of a three-game series on Thursday night.
Oswalt (2-2, 2.42 ERA) returned to his hometown of Weir, Miss. to witness the destruction left by Saturday’s twister. His mother hid in a closet while his father was away on a hunting trip in Missouri, and the closet was the only part of Oswalt’s childhood home that remained.
“The house had been there 40 years,” said Oswalt, who returned to the Astros on Tuesday. “It was the only thing I’ve known. All the stuff that we collected over the last 32 years of my life was pretty much gone. We found some pictures and some of their clothes. But everything else was pretty much gone.
“The biggest thing is that my mom’s alive. The other stuff you can replace, it’s materialistic stuff.”
Oswalt said he found pieces of his 2005 NL championship series MVP trophy strewn about the woods, and he was able to salvage some jerseys from his rookie season in 2001. He also claims the incident will not be a distraction.
“I treat it like two different worlds anyway. When I go home that’s one world and when I’m here it’s another. So I’m back here now,” he said.
The right-hander will take the mound looking to help the Astros avoid being swept after they fell 6-4 Wednesday.
Oswalt has dominated the Reds throughout his career, going 23-1 with a 2.58 ERA in 32 games, including 12-0 with a 2.26 ERA in 16 meetings in Houston.
He won eight consecutive starts with a 2.39 ERA against the Reds from August 2006 to September 2008, but had no record with a 3.38 ERA in four starts versus them last year.
Oswalt enters this matchup coming off consecutive winning outings in which he’s allowed three runs and nine hits in 14 innings.
While Oswalt has enjoyed success for the most part against Cincinnati (10-11), Houston has dropped 11 of the last 12 meetings and six of seven at Minute Maid Park.
The Reds, meanwhile, are looking for their season-high fourth straight win, and first series sweep of 2010. They’ll give the ball to Bronson Arroyo(notes) (0-2, 7.43), who will try again to break into the win column.
The right-hander got roughed up again Friday, surrendering eight runs and eight hits in three innings of a 10-4 loss to San Diego.
Still, manager Dusty Baker is adamant Arroyo can show improvement.
“We’ve covered this before,” Baker said. “He’ll go through a few starts where he struggles, then he’ll reel off seven or eight in a row. I hope this is the end of the bad streak.”
Facing the last-place Astros (8-12) may present Arroyo with the ideal chance to begin turning around his sluggish stretch. He’s won four consecutive starts against them with two complete games and a 1.69 ERA.