Oswalt looks for a better effort against the visiting Nationals while trying to win a third straight start and help the Phillies take their sixth straight series Sunday.
One day after being traded to Philadelphia from Houston, Oswalt (8-13, 3.36 ERA) allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings of an 8-1 loss at Washington on July 30. He is 0-2 with an 8.64 ERA against the Nationals this season.
Since then, Oswalt is 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA in three starts for his new team - with both wins coming at home. After allowing five hits in seven innings during a 2-0 win over Los Angeles in his home debut Aug. 11, the right-hander gave up three runs and struck out seven in seven innings of a 9-3 victory over San Francisco on Tuesday.
With the Phillies (69-53) leading the wild card by one game and 2 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the AL East, Oswalt has found some inspiration from being part of a playoff race.
“This is what I miss,” he said. “Hopefully something magical will happen this season.”
Oswalt looks to help the Phillies bounce back after the Nationals (53-70) evened the set with an 8-1 win Saturday.
Philadelphia has won its last five series since dropping two of three at Washington from July 30-Aug. 1. The Phillies have won 17 of 21 at home over Washington, and have not lost a series to the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park since March 31-April 3, 2008.
Ryan Howard(notes) went 1 for 4 with an RBI in his first game after missing almost three weeks with an ankle injury. The All-Star first baseman is batting .324 with 10 RBIs against the Nationals this season, and .438 with two home runs lifetime against scheduled starter Scott Olsen(notes) (3-5, 5.14).
The left-hander, 0-3 with a 10.95 ERA since beating Atlanta after coming off the disabled list with shoulder tightness July 29, allowed three runs and three hits in five innings of a 10-2 loss to the Braves on Tuesday.
Olsen displayed his displeasure with being pulled in the sixth inning by throwing his glove in the dugout.
“I was frustrated,” Olsen told the Nationals’ official website. “It doesn’t matter what I think.”
Olsen is 5-6 with a 5.37 ERA in 14 starts against the Phillies. He gave up four runs in 5 2-3 innings, but did not factor in the decision of a 7-5 win at Philadelphia on April 15.
Ian Desmond(notes) had four hits and Roger Bernadina(notes) hit a three-run homer Saturday for the Nationals, who suffered a setback when star rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg(notes) left the game in the fifth inning with a strained tendon in his right forearm.
Strasburg, making his third start since returning from a stint on the disabled list with inflammation in the back of his right shoulder, is scheduled to have an MRI on Sunday.
Desmond is batting .398 in his last 24 games, and 10 for 17 in his last four versus Philadelphia.