Like he did for the Astros in 2009, Oswalt pitched through pain during the early portion of the season, going 4-6 with a 3.79 ERA over 13 starts. A second cortisone shot has helped relieve the pain in his back, and Oswalt said he is looking forward to taking the mound without discomfort.
"It doesn't make it fun when you're out there and you know you can't perform at your top level," Oswalt said. "You try not to make excuses when you're out there and you try to help your team win. It got to a point where I wasn't giving the team a chance to win, so I knew I had to do something."
With Oswalt starting Sunday, Cole Hamels will pitch Saturday on regular five days' rest.Oswalt is hoping his performance in the final two months of the season can mirror his results from the end of the 2010 campaign, when he won seven straight decisions to end the regular season.
"Hopefully I can get on a run like I did last year. That'd be great," he said. "The thing about baseball is that you never know what's going to happen until you get out there."