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Matchup/Diary Game # 145 vs. Marlins

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AJ Burnett   Rogér Clemens
12 - 10, 3.43    11 - 7, 1.78

The Chronicle seemed to think that there might be some doubt as to whether Roger Clemens would pitch this evening--but that was before it was reported that Clemens' mother had died early Wednesday morning.

The official site says that The, um, Roger Clemens Foundation has issued a statement that Roger will be pitching tonight, and doing so in honor of his mother.

Bess Clemens had been suffering from emphysema for some time, and Roger has made just during his short tenure in Houston numerous statements to the press indicating the level of concern and love he had for his mother.

It is well beyond my ability to figure whether or not Clemens and the Astros will be at an advantage or a disadvantage due to Clemens' grief.

I can, however, write that the Roger Clemens we saw in Milwaukee over the weekend was obviously hobbled by his hamstring, and would hope that not only would the Astros do right by Clemens in his time of mourning, but also that the reverse be true.

The Chronicle also quotes Tim Purpura to the effect that it might be "more like two weeks" overall before Morgan Ensberg returns, the first time I've seen it explicated that he might not return any day now.

I've seen no further word on Willy Taveras since the Marlins announcers last night came forth that Taveras had a "laceration" on his finger and had gone to the hospital for stitches. The fact that the finger wasn't broken would allow hope that he could somehow swing a bat this evening.

Tonight's game may not be a must-win, but last night's game was the last the team can afford to lose for a while without the club gaining an unquestioned aura of desperation. However, if the club can move toward the still-possible split this evening, it should be a lot easier to progrss in something less than panic mode.

It might be a good time to get Eric Bruntlett a start, and maybe Jeff Bagwell an at bat.

It would also be an apt and proper time for some hits with runners in scoring position: AJ Burnett has not gone longer than 6 innings, or given up fewer than five, since August 19.