Rockies-Red Sox Preview

The Associated Press

Though he lost his season debut last week, Roy Oswalt appears capable of giving the Colorado Rockies a lift going forward.

Manager Walt Weiss' club could surely use a boost.

The slumping Rockies try to avoid a two-game sweep against the Boston Red Sox as they conclude a disappointing nine-game road trip Wednesday.

Signed to a minor league contract May 2, Oswalt (0-1, 7.20 ERA) went 3-2 with a 2.16 ERA in five starts for Double-A Tulsa before getting called up Thursday. The three-time All-Star allowed four runs and nine hits over five innings during a 5-1 defeat at Washington that night, but he struck out 11 - one shy of his career high - and didn't walk anyone.

"I'm not going to come up here and embarrass myself. If I felt like I couldn't give a team a chance to win I wouldn't come back. I feel like I can still start," he said. "Overall felt pretty well just, it's hard to say this, but really too many strikeouts. Kind of got my pitch count up and I was trying to get deeper into the game."

The 35-year-old right-hander threw 70 of his 101 pitches for strikes.

"He's still got it," Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "His fastball has some life to it. It looked like he had a pretty good curveball going. He's still got it in the tank, that's for sure."

In his only appearance versus Boston (46-33), Oswalt yielded four runs in 1 1-3 innings of relief during a 10-9 road win Aug. 8, while with Texas.

Losers in nine of 13, the Rockies (39-39) dropped to 2-6 on their trek following Tuesday's 11-4 defeat. Wilin Rosario had three hits - including his 12th homer - but Colorado went 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position.

Boston, meanwhile, went 9 for 20 in such situations and collected a season-high 20 hits. One of four players to record three hits, Dustin Pedroia drove in a season-high four runs and scored twice.

"It's a good hitting club," Weiss said of the Red Sox, who have hit .315 in winning 11 of 15 at home by a 99-55 margin. "You've really got to command your stuff with that lineup or they make you pay."

Boston now turns to John Lackey (4-5, 3.03), who allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings Thursday in a 4-3 walkoff loss at Detroit. The right-hander, who was in line for the win before Andrew Bailey blew the save, is 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA over his last seven outings.

"I feel pretty good. I threw the ball pretty good," he told MLB's official website. "I was able to locate some offspeed stuff and the fastball for the most part. I've been feeling pretty good for a while now. I'm just trying to pound the zone and throw strikes and try to get ground balls and get us as deep in the game as I can."

Lackey has been especially good at home, going 2-1 with a 1.04 ERA and 25 strikeouts in four starts spanning 26 innings. He's 1-0 despite a 4.91 ERA in two starts against the Rockies, though he hasn't faced them since 2010. Michael Cuddyer has given him trouble, going 6 for his last 16 with three homers in their matchups.

Cuddyer is batting .370 with three homers and 14 RBIs during a career-high 22-game hitting streak - the longest in the majors this season.

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