The Rockies are hoping veteran Roy Oswalt can channel his younger, dominant self when he makes his 2013 Major League debut against the Nationals on Thursday.
Oswalt's long-anticipated start comes after he collected a 2.16 ERA in five starts with Double-A Tulsa. A three-time All-Star who finished among the top five in the Cy Young Award voting five times, Oswalt struggled in nine starts with the Rangers last season and was eventually forced to move to the bullpen.
But the veteran righty is trying to hit the refresh button with the Rockies, and manager Walt Weiss likes what he has seen so far.
"He's very straightforward," Weiss said. "He's looking forward to getting here and competing. He didn't have a whole lot to say. I don't think he's a guy that says a whole lot, but at the same time, he seems like a guy that not much fazes him."
Oswalt will try to help Colorado earn the first win of its current nine-game road trip after the team was swept by the Blue Jays in a three-game series in Toronto. His start comes in the opening game of a four-game series at Nationals Park.
Jordan Zimmermann will take the mound for the Nationals, setting up a matchup between a former ace and a current one. Zimmermann's nine wins are second most in the National League and his 2.44 ERA is seventh best.
Zimmermann is coming off one of his worst outings of the year, allowing six earned runs in five innings in a loss to the Indians on Saturday. But he is returning to the friendly confines of Nationals Park, where he has not picked up a loss in over a year.
The Nationals broke their own three-game slide in a 6-2, 11-inning victory over the Phillies on Wednesday.
Rockies: Torrey, Oswalt have previous ties
Weiss said he is "leaning toward" putting veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba behind the plate for Oswalt's start. Torrealba is already familiar with Oswalt, having caught him with the Rangers last year.
• Right fielder Michael Cuddyer took his hitting streak to 17 games Wednesday with a first-inning single.
The streak is the longest of Cuddyer's career and currently the second longest in the Majors. He is hitting .366 with seven extra-base hits during the streak.
• The Rockies' 699 hits lead the NL.
Nationals: Rendon's streak ends
Before Wednesday, Nationals rookie second baseman Anthony Rendon had reached base in 16 consecutive games.
But Rendon, who had a .462 on-base percentage during the streak, went 0-for-5 with no walks in a win over the Phillies to end the streak.
• The Nationals finished 4-5 on a nine-game road trip, with two of those wins coming in a recent series at Coors Field. Washington is a noticeably better team at home, with an 18-13 record at Nationals Park and a 17-23 mark on the road.
• Oswalt pitched a gem in his last start in Washington. On Aug. 20, 2011, while with the Phillies, the righty tossed eight scoreless innings, striking out nine and walking just one.
• Zimmermann has dominated the Rockies in five career starts against Colorado, giving up only six earned runs in 30 innings.
Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.