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New York Mets at Houston Astros 1:05 CDT

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Dave Williams Roy Oswalt
0 - 0, --- 5 - 7, 3.52

It's Roy vs. the Ghost of Nolan Ryan again today, as Roy tries to tie The Express with Astro career victory number 106 for the third time. It took Roy seven tries to break his tie with Don Wilson, and hopefully, it doesn't take him that long to forge one with Nolan.

Ghosts and career victories and All-Star berths aside, it's difficult to talk about Oswalt this year. He's been good; but recently, he hasn't been Oswalt good. On May 12, he stood at 6 - 2 with a 3.14 ERA. Since then, he's 1 - 3 with a 3.88. The bullpen has let him down, yes, but he's also done some uninspired pitching.

Take May 27 at Arizona for example: six runs on ten hits in six innings. Or June 17 vs. Seattle: 3 runs on 12 hits in 5-2/3, and actually bailed out by the bullpen, when Trever Miller stranded two of his runners. June 7 at Colorado wasn't so great when you think about it, either, 4 runs over six, while allowing 9 hits.

And without mentioning the ugly number, let's just say that Wandy Rodriguez ain't the only Astro starter whose road ERA is a little high.

Sure, I like the 2007 Oswalt, but I want the old dominant Roy back.

Maybe he returns today. Oswalt has been good against the Mets, as he's 4 - 3 lifetime with a 3.28, and he was good last year when they had much the same lineup, winning both times he faced them, and posting a 2.70 ERA.

****

If after last night's loss, you were kind of thinking that, Chris Burke game be damned, this team very rarely wins the really long ones, you'd be exactly right. Since Burke went deep off Joey Devine, and including the '05 Series, the Astros are 2 - 5 after the 13th inning.