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Please, No More Clemens Posts!

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Another Roger Clemens post, I apologize. He deserves some coverage here, but the way its been going, the ongoing story of the Rocket, and his effort to convince us that the Mitchell Report has accused him wrongly, is the only thing I'm writing about.

I should be writing about the 2008 Astros, but every time I consider this team, how it includes Miguel Tejada, but not Chad Qualls, not Luke Scott, not Adam Everett, I develop a case of terminal apathy. I think about how our new shortstop has shown no interest in clearing his name, and then I think about the player who has.

I want to believe Clemens, I'll admit it. Separate and apart from the facts, such as they are, I'll admit it. I want it as bad as anything. I spent 20 years believing within reason that if most baseball players were not necessarily trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, and reverent, that at least they were clean.

Silly me. But between now and the time that the first Biggio accusations are published, it titillates my sense of righteousness to watch Clemens as he protests, and I get carried along.

When Clemens spits through clenched teeth that this isn't about records and heroes and numbers, this is about his health, I'm like, you go, Roger! There are times when I listen to the man that I am absolutely sure he's telling the truth.

And, though I generally lean in his direction, there are other times when I'm not so sure.

Anyway, here's some more info about a ballplayer who didn't play for the 'Stros last year, and won't be playing for 'em this year, either.

Sorry 'bout that.

* * * * *

In the Mitchell Report, after noting that Brian McNamee claims to have injected Clemens for the first time sometime after June 10, 1998, it is written that ". . . according to McNamee, from the time that McNamee injected Clemens with Winstrol through the end of the 1998 season, Clemens’ performance showed remarkable improvement."

In a case full of shadowy motivations, and unconfirmable accusations, in that short sentence we have a rare example of a statement that can be checked for truth.

McNamee tells the Mitchell investigators he shot Clemens full of Winstrol, sounds like in late June of 1998, then he says that Clemens' performance got a lot better.

They're still arguing about the first part, but what about the second part? Did Clemens' performance get better in the second half of 1998?

Well, yeah.

Roger Clemens, First Half/Second Half Splits, 1998
Split G IP W L K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WHIP
April - June 17 111-2/3 9 6 9.11 4.19 0.56 1.28
July - August 16 123-0/3 11 0 11.56 2.63 0.29 0.93

Shit, that IS remarkable improvement.

Though it may only mean McNamee did his research, the numbers suggest that something happened in late June/early July of 1998 to kick the Rocket into gear.

A B-12 injection, and some xylocaine? Or Winstrol and Deca-Durabolin?

Here's ERA and WHIP, for the same season, broken down by individual months.

Roger Clemens, WHIP and ERA by Months, 1998
Month ERA WHIP
April 3.62 1.24
May 3.43 1.26
June 4.04 1.32
July 1.73 1.05
August 0.90 0.70
September 2.70 1.12

Notice that the ERAs and the WHIPs Clemens put up in the three second-half month were each better than his best mark of the first half. Or, in the Microsoft Excel Logic I had to use to find these results, his worst score in the second half, in both categories, was better than his best score of the first half.

1998 is the only year of Roger Clemens' career for which those things can be said. Clemens simply never had another year in which he showed so much second-half improvement.

This fact may be innocuous; McNamee may have merely picked up on it in trying to make the most verisimilitudinous accusation.

On the other hand, it may be very damning.

McNamee implied to the Mitchell investigators that ". . . Clemens used performance enhancing substances during the second half of the season so that he would not tire," and McNamee claimed to the Mitchell investigators that he injected Clemens in 1998, 1999, and 2001.

In reviewing Clemens career, only once, as has been seen, did he post monthly ERA AND monthly WHIPs in the second half that each one surpassed the bests he'd posted in the first half. That year was 1998.

However, Clemens did show the same kind of improvement in his ERAs only in the second halves of both 1990 and 1996, seasons during which Clemens and McNamee were not acquainted.

Roger Clemens, WHIP and ERA by Months, 1990
Month ERA WHIP
April 3.09 1.00
May 2.54 0.98
June 2.38 1.32
July 1.00 1.04
August 1.09 0.97
September 1.59 1.50
 
Roger Clemens, WHIP and ERA by Months, 1996
Month ERA WHIP
April 4.17 1.55
May 4.23 1.16
June 4.14 1.49
July 3.98 1.40
August 1.85 1.23
September 3.43 1.19

Although his second-half WHIPs didn't um, whip, those he posted in the first halves of these years, Clemens showed a good deal of improvement in the second half of these two seasons, as well. It may even lead you to believe that if you pitch long enough, even at a high level, you'll run into some slumps, and some streaks, too, and that sometimes they'll butt up against each other.

I'll spare you the numbers, but I also took a look at years in which all but one of Clemens' second-half months were better than his first half-months. The following table summarizes what I found.

Years in Which All Second-Half Months
--But One--
Showed Improvement over the Best First Half Mark
Stat Years
ERA 1987, 2000
WHIP 1987, 2000, 2002, 2004

The effect is not as drastic for these years as it was for 1990, 1996, and 1998, but it's fair to say, Clemens was better in the second half of these years than he was in the first half. Was this due to drugs as well?

McNamee says he injected Clemens in 2000, although we're left to our own devices in trying to figure out what the deal is with 1987, 2002, and 2004, when he of course pitched for Houston.

* * * * *
I think that, after all, this big mess I just made on your computer screen is something like the Mcnamee-Clemens phone call: you're free to take a stab at what it might mean, but in the end, the final leap has to be one of supposition, or even of faith. I've given some evidence that suggests Roger Clemens cheated during some of the years in question in The Mitchell Report. I also give some evidence which could suggest, using the same logic, that he cheated in years in which we know for a fact that Brian McNamee injected Clemens with nothing at all.

I'll admit it may not be that meaningful, but I'm glad that I at least shared my data. . . .