Jim Crane is willing to let Roger Clemens pitch for the Astros this season

25 Comments

They watched his workouts and they’ll be watching his start tomorrow night, and today Astros owner Jim Crane said that, assuming things go well, he’d be totally open to Roger Clemens pitching for the Astros this season:

“If it goes alright and he comes to us, we’ll talk to baseball about it at length,” Crane said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports.

“The only thing we don’t want to do is make it a publicity stunt. If we did it, I want to try and take it and turn it into a positive, which would be Roger’s doing it for the good of baseball. The extra proceeds on the game might go to the (Astros’) community charity deal to build (baseball) fields, do something positive out of it.”

He said that he didn’t want to do it just for the extra gate, which is admirable.  That said, I think Clemens would have to be extremely dominant from a scouting perspective tomorrow night, not just from a box score perspective, for the Astros to seriously consider it. Because these will be independent ball guys he’s facing and even a 25% Roger Clemens should be able to do well against them.  For this to not be a farce, he has to have good velocity and command.

If they went forward with it, I also hope that Houston wouldn’t use him in a game that mattered. Sure, the Astros season is meaningless at this point, but they play the Giants, Reds, Pirates and Cardinals at home before the season is over, and all of those teams are in playoff fights. Really, the only time when it would not make a big difference is for the Cubs series September 10-12 and the Phillies series September 13-16.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

Getty Images
8 Comments

Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.