Rocket recharged for start

first_img Of course, if the Astros lose three times in the next four games, Saturday could be Clemens’ final appearance in the majors – but he doesn’t want to think about all that yet. “I’ve been trying to shut it down for two years and I still can’t answer that now,” Clemens said. “I’m glad I left that percentage point open.” Finding a way to beat Clemens is tough enough with a healthy lineup, and the Cardinals are banged-up going into Game 3. Left fielder Reggie Sanders’ neck was still bothering him after an awkward fall on the warning track during St. Louis’ 4-1 loss at home in Game 2 on Thursday night, and right fielder Larry Walker also has a sore neck. Sanders and Walker each said they would play today. “This is crunch time, so I’ll definitely be out there,” Sanders said, adding that his teammates are not awed by Clemens. “No mystique there. I think it’s more just about him knowing himself and knowing what he’s capable of doing and hitting his spots.” The Astros will probably close the roof at Minute Maid Park, making the sellout crowd even louder. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It was an astounding performance for a 43-year-old power pitcher on two days of rest, yet another unforgettable moment to add to his ever-growing legend. But Clemens is much more comfortable on the mound when he starts, and that’s what he’ll do today in Game 3 of the best-of-seven NLCS against St. Louis. With the series tied 1-1, right-hander Matt Morris is scheduled to pitch for the Cardinals. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “I hope my energy level will be high. If not, I’ll try and find other ways as far as drawing off the crowd or certain situations, trying to get my energy where it needs to be,” Clemens said. The Rocket is remarkable, but he must be tired by now, too. He struggled with a strained hamstring down the stretch and pitched 211 innings this season, leading the major leagues with a 1.87 ERA. He’s put off retirement twice and already has just about everything a pitcher could hope for: a record seven Cy Young Awards, 341 wins, two World Series rings and a sure ticket to the Hall of Fame. Yet there’s one more thing Clemens would love to do – lead his hometown team to its first World Series, bringing Astros mainstays Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell along with him. “Hopefully, we’re moving into reaching for higher places,” Clemens said. “The opportunity is there. You know, we see it and hear it and it might not come around again and we might not have that opportunity. We know that there are a handful of us that are a little bit older on this club and might not get that chance, so in that sense there is an urgency.” center_img HOUSTON – When last seen, Roger Clemens was riding in out of the bullpen for his first relief appearance in 21 years and rescuing the Astros in the longest postseason game ever played. The final Houston pitcher available, he threw three shutout innings and struck out four of his 11 batters to earn the victory as the Astros beat Atlanta 7-6 in 18 innings Sunday to advance to the NL championship series. last_img

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