I know what you are thinking. Roy Oswalt is on the mound versus Micah Owings. When was the last time two pitchers whose last names started with 'O' faced each other, right? Well, this will only be the 4th time in the last 3 seasons that it has happened and the last time it happened was all the way back on May 2nd, when Owings faced off against Ross Ohlendorf of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Oswalt and Ohlendorf started against each other last September, the only time it happened in 2008. And the lone time it happened in 2007 was exactly 2 years ago today when Ramon Ortiz took on Tomo Ohka in an epic battle between the Twins and Blue Jays. And now you know part of the rest of the story.
So anyway, this Oswalt guy kind of owns the Reds or something, right? He's 23-1 all time against the Reds, in case you didn't know. He currently has a streak of 5 straight starts against the Reds where he has gone at least 6 innings and surrendered one run or fewer. On the plus side, after going 15-1 in the 16 previous starts coming into this season, the Reds have managed to not give Oswalt a decision in either start against them this season. One of those starts was only the 5th time the Reds have beat the Astros in one of Oswalts 28 career starts against the Reds. Progress!
After a solid outing against his former Diamondbacks teammates on May 12th, Owings didn't look so hot against the best offense in the NL in his last start. He only lasted 3 innings against the Phillies, allowing 6 hits and 3 walks while giving up 5 runs and taking the loss. He last faced the Astros almost exactly two years ago and on that day he was very good. He pitched a complete game, scattering 9 hits and only allowing one run while striking out 8 batters. That's the kind of outing he might need tonight with the Reds facing their arch-nemesis.
Then again, the Reds offense has been hitting the ball well over the last week, reaching double-digits in hits in 4 of the last 6 games. During that span they are batting .288/.370/.428 as a team, averaging 5.2 runs per game. Just goes to show that even if you aren't hitting for a ton of power, getting plenty of guys on base can really do a lot to help your team score some runs. It also makes for some fun baseball too, when you're winning!