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Oswalt seeks win vs. Ausmus' Dodgers

Oswalt seeks win vs. Ausmus' Dodgers

HOUSTON -- Brad Ausmus has no idea if Dodgers manager Joe Torre plans to play him during the Dodgers' three-game series in Houston, but he does know one thing.

"I'd like to face Roy," he said, with a laugh.

Ausmus and Astros ace Roy Oswalt worked together as batterymates for the majority of Oswalt's eight-year career, but on Wednesday, they could find themselves in an unfamiliar situation, with Ausmus at the plate, facing one of Oswalt's blazing fastballs without the protection of a catcher's mask and chest protector.

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Ausmus isn't the only one hoping for a confrontation. Oswalt would like to face him as well. Sort of.

"There's no upside for me, though," Oswalt chuckled. "If I get him out, I was supposed to do that. If I don't get him out, I'll never stop hearing about it from him."

Oswalt will take the mound against the Dodgers for the second game of the series in search of his first win. This is not an unusual situation for him -- last year, he started the season 0-3 with a 9.00 in his first three starts before rebounding to go 17-7 with a 3.08 ERA through the end of the season.

The difference is that Oswalt's three starts this year have been much better than in 2008. He allowed three runs on over seven innings on Opening Day and took a loss and six runs over six innings in his next outing and lost. He threw six shutout frames against the Reds in his last start but took a no-decision when the bullpen blew the lead.

Oswalt admitted he's frustrated but also assumes he'll feel better once he gets that first win under his belt.

"You just kind of keep going," he said. "It seems like after you get a win, you get on pace and you go. I haven't come across that yet."

Despite the lack of wins, Oswalt feels as good as he ever has this time of year.

"The last start, I felt great," he said. "I threw a few pitches, but I threw a lot of pitches just trying to prevent a run, instad of being aggressive, totally in the strike zone. Sometimes you've got to manage the game where you maybe throw less pitches and maybe get deeper in the ballgame."

Oswalt doesn't know if he'll face Ausmus, but he is looking forward to confronting another Dodgers hitter -- superstar slugger Manny Ramirez. Other than an All-Star Game, Oswalt has never faced the left fielder.

"It should be fun," he said. "Should be a challenge, for sure. He's one of the best in the game at hitting. You like to see what you've got."

Pitching matchup
HOU: RHP Roy Oswalt (0-2, 4.26 ERA)
In his last outing, Oswalt threw 108 pitches over six innings but didn't allow any runs against a Reds team that he has dominated throughout his career. Oswalt took a no-decision when Jose Valverde blew a save opportunity in the ninth. Oswalt faced the Dodgers once last year, earning the win after allowing one run over six innings. In his career, the right-hander is 5-3 with a 3.63 ERA against L.A., spanning eight starts.

LAD: LHP Randy Wolf (1-1, 3.93 ERA)
Wolf, who pitched for the Astros last season, showed his resiliency on the mound as he bounced back from a rough first inning against the Rockies on Friday. He allowed three runs in the first, including a two-run home run, but then pitched five scoreless innings. In all, Wolf tossed six innings, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out a season-high nine batters. He is 4-4 with a 3.76 ERA in 11 starts against Houston in his career.

Tidbits
Mark Loretta, another former Astro, on playing for Torre: "It's fun. He's got such a presence to him. He's kind of like the Godfather. He talks, and everybody listens." ... Prior to Tuesday's opener with the Dodgers, Astros pitchers had a combined 2.16 ERA over their last six games. The team, however, was only 3-3 over that span. ... Miguel Tejada has hit safely in seven of his last eight games and has logged multiple hits in six of eight.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSH HD

On radio
• KTRH 740, KLAT 1010 (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Astros (Wandy Rodriguez, 1-1, 1.89) vs. Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 3-0, 2.84), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Friday: Astros (Felipe Paulino, 0-0, 0.00) vs. Brewers (Yovani Gallardo, 1-1, 4.58), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Astros (Mike Hampton, 1-1, 3.12) vs. Brewers (Jeff Suppan, 1-2, 8.56), 6:05 p.m. CT

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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