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Matchup/Game Thread Game # 146 vs. Phillies

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Brett Myers Roger Clemens
10 - 6, 4.05 6 - 4, 2.27

Happy, but surprised to see Roger pitching tonight, and I will be even more surprised--and even more happy--if he produces a quality start in terms of innings pitched and runs allowed tonight.

With the Astros on the verge of practical elimination from the playoffs, you know the idea of 350 wins is playing very heavily on Roger's mind, and starting tonight does give him four chances at three wins. Assuming no looniness from Garner, Clemens' remaining starts would be tonight at home vs. Philly, a rare home matinee vs. Cincinnati Wednesday, Monday the 25th at Philly, and then Saturday the 30th--the second to last day of the season--at Atlanta.

I hate to keep calling everyone the man, but Roger's the man, and if he thinks it's to his advatage to start tonight, then I'm sure he's right. But I just thought as a 44-year old man, he might want to maximize his rest to best insure that the three starts he makes to end his stellar career are both smooth and painless.

At least the Official site makes it sound like Clemens is ready and raring to go:

The Astros were cautiously and tentatively penciling in Clemens to open their 10-game homestand against the Phillies. The Rocket has not pitched since prematurely leaving his start on Sept. 4 with a strained right groin. Clemens, 44, allowed one run over five innings in that start in Philadelphia before leaving after throwing 71 pitches. He threw a bullpen session on Tuesday without incident and informed club officials that he's ready.
OK, maybe not.

Well, we'll all be pulling for him, anyhow.

***
It looks like even though Ryan Howard hasn't homered in five whole games, Phil Garner still plans to be real liberal with the intentional walk during the series on occasions where the Phillies' first baseman is at the plate with runners on.

"He's clearly the MVP," Ausmus said, and I don't know about that, might be so, but I would certainly agree with the next thing Brad said, which was, "If you can avoid pitching to him in any type of game-tying or game-winning situation, you want to avoid it."

Like I told Al Yellon, fuckin' ay, bubba. Make sure you get Utley and Victorino in front of Howard, and you'll remove a lot of stress from the days of Clemens, R., Garner, P., and Houstonfan, A.

As much as I wanna be sensible about this, I keep thinking of Scott Olsen, who was told by his boss, Marlins manager Joe Girardi, not to give Howard anything, then decided to challenge Howard anyway, and gave up Ryan's last game-deciding jack up to this moment.

Listen to your coaches, Astro relievers. If Roger gives you a lead, but you got to face Howard, be sensible. Don't try to be a hero.