Corey Oswalt will make his sixth start on Sunday afternoon as the Mets conclude their four-game series with the Braves.
But regardless of whether the 24-year-old righthander’s next start after that is for the Mets or Triple-A Las Vegas, Mickey Callaway wants to make sure it comes five days later. He believes settling Oswalt into a routine of starting every fifth day will be the best way of knowing if he can be a permanent member of the rotation next season.
“I’d like to see him pitch as much as possible,” Callaway said. “I think what we need to focus on is that he’s pitching every fifth day, and it doesn’t have to be here. We have to get him in a routine to see what he can do because if he does the right things, he’s got the stuff. He’s got the deception. He’s got the breaking ball. He’s got the ability to throw the ball over the plate and attack it to have success. We just need to get him pitching every fifth day.”
Oswalt (1-2) has a 5.27 ERA but has held opponents to a .194 batting average. He earned his first major-league win in his last start, allowing two runs and three hits in five innings against the Padres July 25. He has gone at least five innings and allowed three or fewer hits in each of his last three starts, the first Met to do so since Noah Syndergaard from Aug. 21-Sept. 2, 2016.
Oswalt also is 5-5 with a 6.02 ERA in 11 starts for Las Vegas and was the Double-A Eastern League pitcher of the year last season, when he went 11-5 with a 2.37 ERA for Binghamton.
The Mets typically have a pitchers’ fielding practice once per homestand. What made Saturday’s PFP atypical was that it included corner and middle infielders for the first time during the regular season as Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland tried to clean up some fielding issues. Bunt coverage and rotation plays were included in the drills.
“We haven’t controlled the game adequately enough lately,” Callaway said.
Steven Matz, placed on the disabled list Friday, did some light tossing and shagged flies for about 15 minutes during batting practice . . . Callaway said catcher Kevin Plawecki might see increased playing time as the organization evaluates him . . . Saturday’s 3-0 win was the Mets’ seventh shutout of the season . . . The Braves had their winning streak snapped at a season-high five games and lost for the first time in six games at Citi Field this season . . . Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went 2-for-4 and is 10-for-19 against Zack Wheeler.