Roy Oswalt grinds out win in debut

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It was clear Friday why Rangers CEO and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan likes Roy Oswalt so much.

He's a grinder. He attacks hitters. He doesn't mess around. At 34 years old, he doesn't have quite the stuff he did when he posted back-to-back 20-win seasons with the Houston Astros in 2004 and 2005, but the man still knows how to get through an opposing lineup. He knows how to keep his team in games and find a way to rack up innings to save the bullpen. And that's all the Rangers really need him to do.

Heck, Oswalt even sounds like Ryan, smirking at the suggestion that at 95 pitches after six innings he didn't have enough left in his arm to go one more inning. Ryan doesn't see 100 pitches as some sort of imaginary barrier and neither does Oswalt.

"I just wanted to get through the seventh," Oswalt said about the Rangers' 4-1 win over the Rockies. "To me there's not a really big difference between 95 and 115. I don't know who really set the 100 pitch count. I don't know where that came from. Some doctor guru just came up with that or something. Coming into the big leagues, sometimes I'd throw 130 pitches my first year up. It made you learn how to get yourself out of jams instead of looking back to the bullpen to help you out."

Oswalt was disappointed he couldn't get out of his final jam, when he gave up a two-out, run-scoring double to Marco Scutaro in the seventh to end the Rangers' shutout bid and end Oswalt's outing. That's why when he received a standing ovation from the crowd of 46,964 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington -- Ryan stood and clapped from his front-row seat in the owner's box -- he didn't tip his cap.

"I was still mad I threw an 0-2 fastball in the middle of the plate," Oswalt said.

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