Oswalt racing clock for franchise record

Bernardo Fallas on a game that might remain in the memories of Astros fans for a long, long time:

    If this was Roy Oswalt’s farewell performance as the Astros’ ace at Minute Maid Park, he made sure to make it one to remember.

    If it was an audition for the handful of scouts on hand tracking their teams' potential trade target, he made sure to leave them reassured.

    Oswalt pitched a one-hit shutout in impeccable fashion, and Lance Berkman took care of the offense with solo home runs in Thursday’s 2-0 series-sweeping victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    The win left Oswalt one shy of tying the franchise record of 144 held by Joe Niekro.


    If this was to be Oswalt’s last outing as an Astro at Minute Maid – a very real possibility given the fact he has asked that the team trade him to a contender, and several teams including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies had scouts in attendance as the July 31 trade deadline approaches – it was a memorable one for the more than 20,000 in attendance.

    If the rotation holds, Oswalt won’t pitch at home until July 27 against Chicago – provided he is still with the Astros.

Call me sentimental, but I'd sure like to see Oswalt win just twice more and pass the lesser Niekro. Seems small comfort to the fans, but small comfort's better than no comfort.

Still, the large comfort, when it comes, will come when the Astros return to their winning ways. And if trading Oswalt before he's able to break a team record hastens that return, it simply must be done.