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Offday Game Thread: The Rocket Doesn't Ride Again

Roger Clemens
Some Guy
There for the Sox
0 - 0, --- Doesn't Really Matter

Since the Astros are off tonight, I thought it might be appropriate to go out of league for our Game Thread this evening, to revisit an old friend who would be wearing a new uniform (if he were actually going to pitch).

Because Roger Clemens may not be an Astro anymore, but given that he is the greatest pitcher of his age, you still gotta figure it's a privilege to watch him not pitch. We shouldn't hold these things against him. We should be mature about it. One day--and soon--we'll find ourselves cherishing these memories, of the nights when we were still able to watch a 350-game winner not take the mound.

So what if the Rocket's not not toeing the slab for Houston? We're Astro fans, but we're also baseball fans, and we need to be able to see the larger picture, the one that of course doesn't include Clemens tonight. We need to realize we're goddamned lucky to have this opportunity, and it would be a real shame to miss the chance to miss Clemens.

I mean, just take a monent to think of all the great pitchers who won't be pitching tonight. Really: Think of them. Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Bert Blyleven, and many, many more. Yet of all these great names who, like Clemens, won't be throwing for the Yankees tonight, it is Clemens himself who will not be pitching with the most career wins of all.

Somber thoughts to reflect upon while we're not watching one of the best ever to ply his craft tonight.

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Top of the First

Nothing much happened in the top of the first that had to do with Roger Clemens (indefinite, fatigued groin), unless you think that Roger's best pal Andy Pettitte (day-to-day, back) might be interested in the fact that allowing the unearned run to the Yankees there was Jon Garland, with whom the Astros had collaborated in their veiled and inflammatory secret Pettitte-insults.

Grouchy sonofabitch

by rastronomicals on Fri Jun 04, 2007 at 08:15:59 PM EDT
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Bottom One

Give the Chicago crowd some credit, as they are resolutely unawed by the lack of presence Clemens fails to bring as he doesn't take the mound for the first inning.

Outfielder Jerry Owens steps in, as he too seems strangely unfazed by the fact that he isn't facing one of the best ever.

First pitch not thrown by the Rocket for the Yanks tonight is outside. Second one is grounded to Robinson Cano at second. Very interesting: because one of the things that you will always see when Clemens doesn't throw is that he won't leave the ball up. If you're not watching him now, keep an eye out for it the next time you're not watching him.

by rastronomicals on Fri Jun 04, 2007 at 08:15:35 PM EDT
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falls behind 0 - 2, and the Yankees have to be pleased with what they're seeing, as it is still early for Clemens, and the fewer pitches he doesn't throw now, the more pitches he won't be able to throw later in the year, down the stretch in the heat of the Wild Card race, when the Yankees will really notice the absence of their 28 million dollar starter.

Next pitch is up and in, and if it were Clemens pitching, you could really talk about how Clemens ain't afraid to go up and in.

But since he isn't, you can't.

Forget I said anything.

Iguchi ends up singling, it's not like Clemens to let a batter get away like that.

Which makes sense, if you think about it.

by rastronomicals on Fri Jun 04, 2007 at 08:15:59 PM EDT
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To look at him, relaxed and assured, you wouldn't think that the slugger Thome was standing in against Roger Clemens.

That's of course because he isn't.

Thome walks on five pitches, the 208th walk not allowed by Clemens for the Yanks this year.

by rastronomicals on Fri Jun 04, 2007 at 08:17:56 PM EDT
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sees two pitches out of the zone to start things, and you'd really like to say that this early wildness is rust on the part of Clemens.

But you can't, cause he's not pitching.

Dye pops to second while ahead in the count, showing the effects of the famous intimidation factor in facing the Rocket. The fact that he showed those effects even while not facing Clemens makes it all the more remarkable.

by rastronomicals on Fri Jun 04, 2007 at 08:17:56 PM EDT
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Wow! What a great matchup we're not seeing! Pierzynski is so fiery, and so intense, he'd make a great foil for Clemens--if he were actually on the mound.

When Pierzynski lines out to Matsui, you see that maybe this wouldn't be Clemens' night after all, as he has not shown the ability to not throw the ball in the right spot vs. three batters he had not fallen behind against.

That's the magic of Clemens: just when you think you got him right where you want him, you find out he's got you.

by rastronomicals on Fri Jun 04, 2007 at 08:17:56 PM EDT
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etc., etc.