The Phillies are 69-39 and well on their way to becoming the first team in baseball to 70 wins. They're also going to improve their team before the end of the trip.
While the Phils were in Denver, Roy Oswalt threw six innings Monday in a rehab start for Class AAA Lehigh Valley against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Oswalt allowed two runs on seven hits, but he looked strong and healthy. He is on tap to rejoin the Phillies this weekend in San Francisco.
"I felt better as the game went on. The deeper in the game, the looser I got, the more command I got," Oswalt said. "I should be ready to go."
Oswalt hasn't pitched in a major league game since June 23. He has battled chronic back pain since April and has undergone three different anti-inflammatory shots in an effort to alleviate the problem. The most recent treatment, just before the All-Star break, has brought Oswalt comfort.
"The back feels great, I don't have any pain," Oswalt said. "There's nothing there right now. I'm just getting back into the rhythm of pitching. You take five weeks off, of being off the mound, you have to be able to get back in the groove of things."
Oswalt likely will slide back into the Phillies rotation this weekend in San Francisco. He could stay on his fifth day and give Cole Hamels an extra day by pitching Saturday, or he could supplant Kyle Kendrick in the rotation Sunday. The Phillies added Oswalt to their rotation just before the trade deadline last year and won 10 of his first 11 starts.
"We're getting close on Oswalt, and that will be a big boost for us," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He's kind of the forgotten man. He's, uh, pretty good. And he's usually pretty good in the second half. He's throwing the ball well right now, which is a very good sign."