The Philadelphia Phillies are hoping he’s right.
Oswalt looks to prove he’s moved past his recent bout of back spasms as the Phillies attempt to continue their dominance of the San Diego Padres at Petco Park in the opener of a four-game set Thursday night.
Back pain forced Oswalt (2-0, 2.50 ERA) from his most recent outing Friday. He allowed two runs and four hits with six strikeouts in six innings, but didn’t get a decision in a 4-3 loss to Florida.
The right-hander has been bothered by back injuries twice in his career including with Houston in 2009, when he went 8-6 with a career-worst 4.12 ERA.
Oswalt isn’t not as worried this time, and taking his scheduled turn in the rotation.
“This is totally different,” he told the Phillies’ official website. “This is nothing like that. This is middle back. It’s not really lower back. Most of the time when I have trouble with it, it’s lower back. This is middle.”
Proving his latest injury is just a mild setback might be made easier with a meeting against the Padres (8-10).
Oswalt is 10-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 18 games against San Diego, including 4-1 with a 1.79 ERA in nine outings at spacious Petco Park.
The Phillies have won seven straight and 20 of the last 24 on the road against the Padres.
Continuing that dominance would be welcome after Philadelphia capped a 2-3 homestand by erasing a three-run, sixth-inning deficit en route to a 4-3 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday.
“Games like this keep you from going in a tailspin,” manager Charlie Manuel said.
Polanco has a .352 average with two home runs and 15 RBIs this season after connecting for a three-run homer Wednesday.
Latos (0-2, 5.84) will try to avoid becoming the third Padres’ hurler to lose a team-record eight starts in a row. The right-hander, who started the season on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, has a 7.34 ERA during a personal seven-game losing streak.
The Padres’ record for consecutive starts lost is shared by Andy Benes, bridging the 1993 and 1994 seasons, and Dennis Rasmussen in 1991.
Latos’ got closer to joining them Saturday, as he gave up five runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-3 loss at Houston.
“I felt really good,” Latos said. “I hit my spots for the most part, but I started to leave my ball up.”
Latos was impressive in his only home start against the Phillies, yielding one run while striking out six in seven innings of a 3-2, 12-inning loss on Aug. 27.
San Diego has dropped five of eight at Petco. The team is opening a seven-game homestand after splitting a doubleheader in Chicago on Wednesday, falling 2-1 in 11 innings in the opener before winning 5-4 in the nightcap.
The Padres collected a season-high 12 hits in second game, connecting for three homers to match their total from the previous nine games.