Oswalt chosen for NL Final Vote

Oswalt chosen for NL Final Vote

HOUSTON -- At first glance, Roy Oswalt's record doesn't exactly pop off the page.

At 7-5, Oswalt's season appears to be entirely mediocre -- good for most pitchers, but subpar for someone of Oswalt's stature.

But a closer look reveals that Oswalt is having a fine year -- perhaps even an All-Star year -- but with lack of run support, questionable relief pitching and an average defensive effort behind him, the ace right-hander has been robbed of several well-deserved wins.

Now, it's up to the fans to give Oswalt his due, and send him to the All-Star Game as the winner of the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote.

Oswalt is one of five National League Final Vote finalists, joining Pirates left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, Arizona right-hander Brandon Webb, San Diego right-hander Chris Young and Cubs righty Carlos Zambrano.

"I am excited about it, for at least being nomimnated for it," Oswalt said. "The starting pitching should be chosen by the fans, too, not just the starting lineup. Fans should have a say as to who gets to go among the starting pitchers, too.

"It's better to get voted in by the fans, just because that's who comes to the games."

Now in its sixth year, the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Chevrolet, and continues until 5 p.m. CT on Thursday, July 5. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.

There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2007 All-Star Final Vote -- online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans also can text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. Whether celebrating the Fourth of July or Canada Day, fans will have the freedom to vote from wherever they are. Standard rate text messaging fees apply -- please check with your mobile carrier for details. Fans can get the mobile ballot now. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555.

The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the Monster 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com.

All-Star Game Coverage

The 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. CT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.

Count teammate Carlos Lee, currently the Astros' only All-Star, as one who will be logging on to mlb.com to vote for Oswalt.

"I told him if I get 1,000 votes, I'll give it to him and make sure he goes," Lee said. "Not to take credit from anyone on the team, but when you've got Roy on the mound, you feel like we've got a really good chance. The confidence is good. He's the heart of the team. He gives it everything he has. Even on his worst day, he'll go seven innings and maybe allow two runs."

Oswalt was the winner of the Final Vote, by a landslide, in 2005. He also made the All-Star team in '06, as one of two Astros players who played for manager Phil Garner at the Midsummer Classic in Pittsburgh.

Oswalt isn't one to fraternize with opposing players, but he enjoys meeting his peers from other clubs during the All-Star festivities. In fact, his close friendship with Padres right-hander Jake Peavy blossomed after meeting at the All-Star Game in 2005.

"People used to say that we're a lot alike and that we should meet," Oswalt said. "Once we met at the All-Star Game, became good friends and big hunting buddies."

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