On May 6, the Stadium erupted when Roger Clemens announced his return. Today, on a hot, muggy day in New York, Clemens is just a minute or two away from his debut. He’s facing the Pittsburgh Pirates, and I’ll be here live-blogging. So let’s get to work.
Seventh Inning: The Yanks score three runs in the top of the sixth, and Brian Bruney is on the hill in relief of Clemens. Cairo is at first, and Melky makes up for last night’s error with a great play to lead off the inning. That’s it for the live blog. We’ll have some Clemens analysis later on. Let’s hope the Yankee bullpen can nail down another win.
For the rest of the live blog, continue reading below.
Warm Ups: Al Leiter mentions the adrenaline issue and the groin problem. Both are on my mind. Clemens and the crowd are pumped. I hope he doesn’t pull a Phil Hughes and overextend himself.
First Pitch: Bunted foul. Glad to see some team knows to bunt against a pitcher with a bum leg. (Cough cough 2004 ALCS cough cough)
First Inning: That 2-2 pitch was nearly a home run off the bat of Bautista, but it curved foul. Clemens is missing just a little bit off the outside corner. The 3-2 pitch is poked into left field for a single. So much for the no-hitter.
Next up, Freddy Sanchez lifts a lazy fly ball to Melky Cabrera. One down.
With Jason Bay up, a wild pitch advances Bautista to second. Bay goes down on strikes, and that moves Clemens into a tie with Randy Johnson. While Michael Kay believes this is a battle that will continue all summer, Randy is a much better strike out pitcher than Clemens right now.
Adam LaRoche singles in Bautista. I think everyone knew that wild pitch would come back to haunt the Yanks.
Xavier Nady goes down swinging. 21 first-inning pitches for Clemens. He is not long for this game if he doesn’t cut down on the pitches.
Sorry the delay. I’m having home Internet problems. I think we’re cursed here at River Ave. Blues, but at least this time, it’s not our host.
Second Innings: Fifteen minutes, 3 runs, 4 hits and one error later, the Yanks have handed Clemens a 3-1 lead. He didn’t have too many of those in Houston. Ryan Doumit, first batter up, laces a 2-1 pitch down the right field line for a double. Clemens is having trouble getting ahead, I type, as he throws a first pitch strike to Ronny Paulino.
Paulino goes down on strikes. That three K’s for the Rocket.
Jack Wilson steps up, and he’s hacking away. Here’s the 39th pitch of the game. Matsui reels it in for the 2nd out of the inning. The Pirates are making Clemens work.
Chris Duffy, who hit last night’s inside-the-park home run (which should have been an error), strides to the plate. Clemens at 2-2 against Duffy, and it’s tapped slowly down the third base line. Look at Clemens, a cat off the mound. Three down, no runs. End of 2.
Middle of the Second: Is anyone else terrified of the idea of Acting President Coulter?
Third Inning: The Yanks go down in order in the second, and Clemens is back on the mound. Bautista works the count full and draws a lead-off walk. Clemens’ pitch count continues to rise.
Clemens meets his best friend as Sanchez taps into a 6-4-3 double play. Two outs on one pitch.
Jason Bay lifts a 1-1 pitch to Bobby Abreu. Twelve pitches, three outs. The Rocket is at 56 pitches through three innings. I hope Scott Proctor’s ready to go a few innings today.
Bottom of the Third Inning: Michael Kay is talking about Randy Johnson’s flight plan. He doesn’t want to come to New York because we hate him here. Talk about someone who’s way too sensitive.
Fourth Inning: LaRoche starts things off with a strike out. Xavier Nady singles, and much like my home Internet connection, Ryan Doumit goes down as well. Five K’s, 70 pitches for Clemens. I think we’ll throw five today. The bullpen will have to fashion four innings of relief.
Kay and Al Leiter are trying to spin Clemens’ low velocity. He’s only hitting about 90, 91 on the YES gun. The count runs full on Paulino, and the crowd roars hoping for a third strike. But Clemens just misses outside. More pitches in the fourth for Clemens.
Kay says that the dugout will watch Clemens around pitch 90. He’s not on a pitch count, but Guidry and Torre will watch him at 90.
Meanwhile, Jack Wilson, hitting .250, lines a ball over Abreu’s head for a two-run double. Abreu played it poorly off the wall, and now the game is tied. Clemens just hasn’t been too sharp today.
Chris Duffy up. He chops it to Josh Phelps, and the inning is over.
Middle of the Fourth: Yikes. There’s Acting President Coulter again. By the way, Clemens is now at 84 pitches. I expect the bullpen to get busy as the Yankees bat.
Fifth Inning: The Yanks’ bats come up empty again against the Pirates. Meanwhile, YES shows Clemens’ pitch count. He’s been over 20 per in every inning except the third. Jose Bautista flies the third pitch of the inning to Melky. One down.
Clemens dispatches Sanchez on 6 pitches. He’s at 93 pitches now. Three pitches later, Clemens induces a fly ball off the bat of Jason Bay. Matsui reels it in after some adventures. Clemens is at 96 pitches and through five innings. He may come out for the sixth just so Torre can remove him to an ovation.
Bottom of the Fifth: Kay tells us that Chris Britton, a good reliever, has been sent down to make room on the roster for Roger Clemens. Luis Vizcaino and Ron Villone are still on the team. Why? The Yanks score one to take the lead.
Sixth Inning: Clemens is back out for the sixth at 96 pitches. LaRoche grounds out to the second on three pitches. Clemens will go after Xavier Nady sitting on 99 pitches.
On the 102nd pitch of the game, Clemens strikes out Nady. That’s six on the day, and he’ll go for the Quality Start with this batter.
The crowd is on its feet as Clemens deals the 2-2 to Ryan Doumit. And it’s a strike. Seven strike outs for Roger, and he looked stronger as the game moved along. That’ll probably do it for Clemens.