WASHINGTON — Corey Oswalt took the loss as the Mets fell to the Nationals, 6-0, on Saturday. But the righthander felt like a winner because he continued to show Mickey Callaway that he is someone who can come into next spring training with a chance to help the 2019 club.
Oswalt (3-3, 6.08 ERA) gave up two runs in five innings in his 11th big-league start of the season, with the runs coming on Trea Turner’s third-inning home run. Jerry Blevins gave up a three-run homer by Matt Wieters in the sixth and Bryce Harper had an RBI double off Tyler Bashlor in the seventh.
The Mets managed one hit — Michael Conforto’s fourth-inning infield single — against five Washington pitchers in a game that took 2:32. Most of it will be forgotten by the Mets, except for Oswalt’s performance. “I thought he was pretty good,” Callaway said. “Still trying to get him stretched out and he got up to where we wanted him to. He’ll have one more start and I thought that he threw the ball real well.”
Oswalt, 25, has been a utility pitcher for the Mets this season, making 16 appearances with the big club and 11 starts for Triple-A Las Vegas. He might not crack the Mets’ rotation next season, but he has put himself in line to be the first man up when the inevitable need for depth arises.
“I feel like there’s a lot of value in having a guy who can kind of jump around and then do multiple things like we’ve talked about with a lot of our players,” Callaway said. “The other thing I look at is when he’s gotten that every-five-day routine, he’s been a pretty effective pitcher. Not saying we can always keep him on that routine — that’s just where he is in his career right now — but we know that we have an impactful pitcher on our hands.
“I think that he has a knack for throwing the ball over the plate. He’s got a lot of deception with his fastball. I think he can get some swing-and-misses with it. I think that he can also get it to the edges of the plate and with his deception, he gets some good strikes looking and then he mixes in some quality off-speed pitches. So he’s got enough weapons to go out there and compete, and he’s been doing that for us quite a bit.”
Oswalt allowed four hits, walked two and struck out four. Nationals rookie righthander Austin Voth threw five innings for his first big-league win.
With the Mets having shut down Zack Wheeler, Oswalt has gotten to make three starts on regular rest. It’s a luxury he hasn’t had all season. He’ll get to make it four in a row Friday.
“It’s nice to get on a little routine heading into the offseason,” he said. “Shuffling back and forth is just how the game goes sometimes and what the team needs. It’s nice to be on a little routine.”