MIAMI -- After Saturday's 4-3 loss in 11 innings to the Marlins, starter Corey Oswalt stood at his locker, ready to address the media. With rumblings of a six-man rotation and an opportunity for a longer stint in the Major Leagues undoubtedly on the rookie's mind, Oswalt couldn't have been
MIAMI -- After Saturday's 4-3 loss in 11 innings to the Marlins, starter Corey Oswalt stood at his locker, ready to address the media. With rumblings of a six-man rotation and an opportunity for a longer stint in the Major Leagues undoubtedly on the rookie's mind, Oswalt couldn't have been more humble.
"I just go out there and do what I can," the 24-year-old said, addressing his future with the big league club. "Hopefully I keep the game close and give our team a chance to win. I don't really think about that kind of stuff. I just go out there and take it one pitch at a time."
Oswalt's team-first mentality aside, the right-hander is continuing to showcase his development and potential, proving that he belongs in this starting rotation for the rest of this season and beyond.
Oswalt tossed six strong innings Saturday, allowing just three runs on six hits in the loss. Oswalt had three strikeouts and walked just one. He threw 84 pitches. The right-hander didn't factor into the decision -- the decisive blow was a walk-off base hit in extra innings by Marlins backup catcher John Holaday off Jacob Rhame.
"I thought he was good," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said, praising the rookie's performance in the loss. "Good deception. He throws the ball over the plate and keeps his pitch count down so he's going to be able to pitch deep into the game if he's that efficient every time. He threw a really nice ballgame."
Since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Aug. 3, to replace an injured Steven Matz, Oswalt has shown improvements across the board, putting together his second consecutive solid outing on Saturday. Last Sunday, Oswalt tossed six frames and surrendered three runs on eight hits in Flushing against the Braves.
"I felt good," Oswalt said. "I had good command of my fastball in and out. Devin Mesoraco had a great game plan going into the game. Overall I felt pretty solid."
With just one walk to his name Saturday, and no walks in his previous start, the rookie's pinpoint accuracy, something you don't always get with young pitchers, impressed Callaway.
"For him to have that kind of command at such a young age is rare, you don't see it a ton," Callaway said. "For him to go out there and attack hitters, get the ball where he wants to, not give up free passes and be so efficient is a real plus."
The right-hander did not allow a base runner through the first 2 2/3, retiring the first eight batters he faced. Oswalt flew through the Marlins lineup, striking out the Marlins' two best hitters -- J.T. Realmuto and Brian Anderson -- before opposing pitcher Dan Straily sneaked a base knock on the ground through the middle with two outs in the third.
The rookie has shown he's taken steps in the right direction since he was roughed up in his first two career outings. Not only has Oswalt increased his stamina, as he lasted just 4 2/3 in his MLB debut on April 25, but he has also enhanced his ability to limit damage, as he gave up six runs against Miami on June 29.
With the club keeping a close eye on Zack Wheeler's innings, Matz still nursing his injured forearm and with the two-headed monster of Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom taking on huge workloads, Oswalt is the perfect candidate to help this rotation make it through the next two months. To Callaway, a six-man rotation is very much being considered.
"As long as he keeps on being deserving, we have to consider it," he said.
And as for Oswalt, you can count on that humble, positive attitude, even with his future at stake.
"Whatever the team needs, I'm here," he said. "It's all about winning ball games. Whatever the team needs, I'm ready to go."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
In the fourth inning, with a man on first and one out, Oswalt induced what appeared to be an inning-ending double play. A slight hesitation, however, kept the inning alive and led to two runs.
After a base hit from Starlin Castro, Anderson chopped a first-pitch curveball right back to Oswalt. The rookie fielded and turned, ready to fire to the second base bag, but double-clutched the baseball before releasing it.
Anderson was subsequently safe at first and after a double from Derek Dietrich, Martin Prado drove home both baserunners with a two-out single to right.
"It was a quick ground ball, and there was a little miscommunication," Oswalt recalled, explaining the play. "I should have just thrown it. It was just a quick play, I should have just thrown it to the bag."
The entire Mets' offensive output came on one swing of the bat -- a bases-clearing double from Todd Frazier. Frazier's RBIs, putting the Mets ahead, 3-0, in the fourth, were his 14th go-ahead RBIs, giving him a tie for the team lead.
Further, Frazier has had his way against Marlins pitching as of late. The veteran extended his hitting streak against Miami to seven games -- he is hitting .320 over that stretch.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the sixth, Miami was poised to take a lead after a two-out hit-by-pitch. Center fielder Brandon Nimmo, however, was determined to keep the score tied at 3.
With Prado at first, Miguel Rojas stroked a 1-2 fastball into the right-center-field gap, slicing away from Nimmo. Statcast™ had the ball flying at 91.4 mph off the bat. Nimmo ranged to his left, laid out and made the magnificent catch, saving a run. With how big Marlins Park's gaps are, Rojas' liner was ticketed for the wall and had "RBI triple" written all over it.
HE SAID IT
"It just looks like balls are staying middle. The last pitch right there was a slider that stayed over the middle of the plate. Holaday was able to hook it down the line. So, just probably needs to get the ball where he wants to get it a little bit better. He's got good stuff, got a good slider, and I think he'll be OK in the long run. He's just got to weather the storm here and really concentrate on getting the ball where he wants to." -- Callaway, on Rhame's struggles of late and surrendering the walk-off hit Saturday
Syndergaard starts the finale of New York's three-game set with the Marlins. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET Sunday. Syndergaard is a perfect 4-0 against Miami in six career starts with a 1.62 ERA (seven earned runs in 39 IP). At Marlins Park, the right-hander is 3-0. Miami counters with southpaw Wei-Yin Chen.
Max Goodman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow him on Twitter @Max_Goodman97.