|Rogér Clemens||Ian Snell|
|12 - 7, 1.77||0 - 2, 6.83|
No need to worry about what the Marlins do or what the Phillies do this evening, as our two Wild Card opponents have the travel day going on, with Florida en route to New York, and Philadelphia on their way to Atlanta.
So it's just the 'Stros, trying to pick up the half game that's kept them out of phase with Florida and Philadelphia for about six weeks now.
This is a road game, with all the associated perils you have come to expect from watching the team all season, but ya gotta say, as road games go, this one ain't that tough: we face the league's worst team, and we'll have the league's stingiest pitcher on the mound for us.
Pirates likely to play tonight are a combined 12 for 95 against Clemens without an RBI and with a single extra base hit.
Clemens has never pitched at PNC Park, and has never lost to the Pirates in five chances.
Ian Snell--what can you say?--is not the highest quality pitcher the Pirates might have thrown out there. But Josh Fogg has been demoted to the bullpen, Mark Redman is out indefinitely with a fractured finger, with the team in no hurry to bring him back, and Oliver Perez pitched out of turn yesterday against the Reds, just so Snell could face Clemens.
Snell received one of his two decisions against Houston back on July 19, giving up 10 hits and five runs over five innings in his third career start. The Astros had five extra base hits against Snell, scoring enough to get Zeke Astacio his first career victory.
The Pirates do come in having won three straight, and six of their last ten . . . .
Look for Everett and Ensberg to return to the starting lineup, but not Burke and Taveras.
If it's not arrogant to suggest such, I might guess that this series is less about Houston vs. Pittsburgh than it is about Houston vs. Their Road Demons. Despite inroads in that direction, this previous week's home and home with the Brewers should show that there is still a difference between the Astros' game at M-squared and the Astros' game on the road. Although if we can get a couple more of those Biggio road homers, we might be alright. . . .
Since we've got our baggage packed, and they're settled in, Preview takes a look at our OPS on the road and Pittsburgh's at home.
|Road OPS||Astro||Pos||Pirate||Home OPS|
|.647||Brad Ausmus||C1||Humberto Cota||.811||x|
|.637||Raul Chavez||C2||Ryan Doumit||.827||x|
|x||.893||Lance Berkman||1B||Brad Eldred||.613|
|.654||Craig Biggio||2B||Freddy Sanchez||.683||x|
|.585||Adam Everett||SS||Jack Wilson||.777||x|
|x||.881||Morgan Ensberg||3B||Rob Mackowiak||.782|
|x||.901||Orlando Palmeiro||OF1||Jason Bay||.857|
|.683||Jason Lane||OF2||Nate McLouth||.687||x|
|.335||Luke Scott||OF3||Craig Wilson||.550||x|
|.000||Charles Gipson||OF4||Michael Restovich||.522||x|
|x||.642||Mike Lamb||Util/PH||Ty Wigginton||.508|
|x||.357||Roger Clemens||P1||Ian Snell||.000|
|x||.203||Andy Pettitte||P2||Tom Gorzelanny||---|
|.373||Roy Oswalt||P3||Kip Wells||.528||x|
|x||.850||Brandon Backe||P4||Zach Duke||.311|