While Roger Clemens gets ready for his first Minor League stints with his son Koby, his teammates back in Houston keep on confronting those problems that have chased them lately: inconsistent pitching and wasted opportunities.
Let’s take a look at the Rocket first; he’s practicing with Lexington, but Koby won’t be on the battery with him whenever he pitches in actual games. Instead, Koby will play third base. There are columnists accusing Clemens of lack of professionalism and being a diva, but fans don’t seem to care. The Astros Minor League teams have seen ticket demand rise beyond expectations, and many games in which Clemens is scheduled to start have been sold out. The Astros are offering at the Major League level (shameless plug coming up) the Roger Returns package. The Houston Chronicle is polling readers to see if they consider Clemens as the biggest sports hero to come out of Space City, USA. Ever.
Back on Earth, trouble for the Astros doesn’t seem to end. Two consecutive losses at Minute Maid to the Cincinnati Reds, keep on piling more numbers for the "L" column in the standings. The ‘Stros are 2-8 on their last 10 contests. On Friday night, Wandy Rodriguez was clubbed mercilessly by the respectable Cincinnati offense, in a first inning to forget. At least, the Dominican-born hurler is pledging to do so. The game ended 14-3, with 8 runs as Wandy’s responsibility.
The following evening, we attended the Bronson Arroyo show. The pitcher-hitter-for-average-singer went 3-for-3 with 4 RBI and pitched six outstanding innings; becoming orchestra man and the spark plug behind his team’s victory with a 7-5 final. Andy Pettitte went through serious trouble once again. It was well said by a scout to The Sporting News, it seems like Pettitte doesn’t have any tricks left in his bag. The only thing that Arroyo didn’t do was to get his guitar and start singing.
Houston had a chance to stage a rebellion in the ninth, but it was suffocated by Cincinnati relief. We are writing minutes away from the start of the rubber game. Let’s see how it ends, and if the Astros can ever get their groove back. It’s hard, but not impossible.