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Game Hero, 88 - 73

Roger Clemens
  • W, 13 - 8, # 341 on his career
  • 7.0 IP, 6H, 1 ER, 3B, 5K's including # 4500
  • Pretty much the standard Clemens start
  • Perhaps the last regular season start of his career?
        If so, it was a successful one.

Whatever happens, don't blame the starting pitching; it has now gone 21 innings in the Cubs series while giving up five runs, good for a 2.14 ERA. Yet the Astros are only 1 - 2 in those games.

So the Astros have finally clinched the Wild Card tie; Sunday's game will not be the last of the season for Houston, regardless of its outcome.

But it's my guess that Monday's tiebreaker, if it is played, would be nearly impossible for Houston to win, considering the momentum the Phillies would have, having won four straight must-win games, and playing at home.

So Roy Oswalt and his Astrobuddies should look upon tomorrow's matinee as a must-win of their own. Or maybe Garner can use the carrot, rather than the stick: win, and get two days off.

Roy will also be going for his twentieth victory, which would make him the first Astro hurler since Joe Niekro to win 20 games in back-to-back seasons. In addition, if Oswalt throws enough scoreless innings, and Florida's Dontrelle Willis has a poor enough start, there's an outside chance that Roy could move up to third in the ERA standings, which would mean that Astro starters would finish 1-2-3 in the majors. I looked at that a little bit; if Roy went nine scoreless, for example, and Willis gave up six over 5, Roy would pass Dontrelle.

The last time I know of that a trio of pitchers from the same team were atop the majors in ERA at the end of the season, they were with the 1907 Chicago Cubs. It was Jack Pfiester, Carl Lundgren and Three-Finger Brown who turned the trick, a year after Pfiester, Ed Reulbach and Brown had merely topped the National League. The only time a pair of Astro teammates finished one-two in ERA was 1981, when Nolan Ryan and Bob Knepper did so. Clemens and Pettitte will match that no matter what, but it'd be cool if Roy could break in there. I usually root for Dontrelle, but not tomorrow.

Although the Cubs are now guaranteed both a losing season (:-) and fourth place in the division, Greg Maddux will have some incentive tomorrow. He will be trying to avoid his first losing season since he was 21 years old.

Sorry, Greg.