UPDATE: Per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, Clemens told ESPN after his outing that he “would listen” if Astros owner Jim Crane calls, but doesn’t think he’s close to pitching in an MLB game.
10:01 PM: With his son Koby behind the plate, Roger Clemens tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings tonight against the Long Island Ducks in his second start with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters.
Clemens gave up just two hits — both singles — while striking out one and walking none. The 50-year-old right-hander retired the first two hitters he faced in the fifth before hugging his son and leaving to a standing ovation at Constellation Field. Jim Bowden of ESPN.com notes that he sat mostly in the 86-88 mph range with his fastball while Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports that he threw 33 out of 54 pitches for strikes.
Clemens tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his first start with the Skeeters on August 25 and topped out at 88 mph. While the Astros were expected to have a scout in attendance for tonight’s outing, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner said earlier this week that he’s “just having fun” and doesn’t expect to pitch in the big leagues this year.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.
Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.
Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.
This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.
As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.