(Sports Network) – Roy Oswalt may not be able to duplicate what Roy Halladay did in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, but with the way he has dominated the Cincinnati Reds over the course of his career, you never know.
Tonight Philadelphia tries to take a commanding two games-to-none lead over the Reds in the best-of-five set at Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia, as well as the baseball universe, is still marveling over what Halladay did in his postseason debut on Wednesday, when he turned in the second no-hitter in playoff history as the Phillies rolled to a 4-0 win.
“I don’t expect to do the same thing,” Oswalt said. “I’m going out there looking for a quality start, pretty much.”
Halladay, the soon-to-be National League Cy Young Award winner, set the bar high in the opener for Oswalt, who was the Phillies’ best pitcher down the stretch. The latter won his final seven decisions and pitched to a 1.74 ERA in his 13 games with the Phils following his trade-deadline acquisition from Houston.
“We’re up 1-0. And you know, like that’s kind of how I want Roy Oswalt to feel,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “I just want him to do the same thing that Roy Halladay did. Just go out there and be comfortable, get a comfortable atmosphere and pitch to his ability and his knowledge on how to pitch. Just be himself.”
Oswalt was even better at Citizens Bank Park, where he was 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA in six starts. For his career, he is 9-0 with a 2.10 ERA in 10 starts there.
The 33-year-old righty has also dominated the Reds in his brilliant career, having posted a 23-3 mark to go along with a 2.81 ERA in 34 games (32 starts) against them. However, he lost both of his starts to Cincinnati this season and hasn’t beaten the Reds since winning all four starts against them in 2008.
“The team changes so much,” Oswalt said. "There’s really no way to explain it from when I first started. There’s not a guy left on that [Cincinnati] team, I don’t guess, that played then. So it changes so much.
“I don’t know if it’s just the way it lined up. A few times, I actually gave up a few runs against them and my team came back and scored me a few. So we just kind of lined up where I pitched on the days that we scored some runs and some days I was able to shut them out. Really wasn’t one direct thing, I don’t guess.”
Cincinnati, meanwhile, is still licking its wounds after Halladay’s masterpiece.
“I mean, you have no choice but it still counts as a loss. That was a very dramatic loss, though,” admitted Reds manager Dusty Baker. “That is the best pitched game I’ve seen since I’ve been going to the playoffs and the World Series. You have no choice but to bounce back. You’ve got to put it behind you, and figure we got beat by a great performance [Wednesday].”
The Reds led the NL in batting average (.278), homers (188) and runs (790), but they now haven’t scored in 30 innings against Philadelphia.
Hoping that changes tonight will be Reds starter Bronson Arroyo, who was 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA this season. However, things haven’t gone well for him against the Phillies, as he is just 1-5 lifetime with a 5.54 ERA in eight games versus Philadelphia.
Arroyo, one of just six Reds with previous postseason experience, has appeared in 10 playoff games without recording a decision, but has pitched to a 7.41 ERA in those encounters.
After winning two of three meetings with the Phillies at Great American Ball Park from June 28-30, the Reds were swept in four games at Citizens Bank Park more than a week later from July 8-11. Cincinnati has not scored in its last 20 innings at Philadelphia and has not won in six games there dating back to 2009.