Of course, he hasn’t had much trouble with National League hitters this season either.
Clemens looks to improve his perfect record as the Astros continue their three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
Clemens, the all-time leader in wins against Seattle with 22, allowed one earned run and five hits in seven innings of Wednesday’s 5-1 win over the Chicago Cubs. He improved his record to 8-0 and snapped a stretch of three starts without a decision.
The veteran right-hander, who signed with Houston after a brief retirement from the New York Yankees following the 2003 season, has won 12 straight regular season decisions, dating to Aug. 9.
“I’m not too worried about streaks. I think they’re great because we’re winning,” Clemens, 41, said. “I don’t put a lot of stock into them. I know that they could change at any time. So you want to try and ride them.”
The win was Clemens’ 318th, tying him with Phil Niekro for 14th on the all-time list. He also moved ahead of Christy Mathewson for the second-best winning percentage among pitchers with 300 victories (318-160, .665), behind only Lefty Grove (300-141, .680).
“This is a special time. I think we have to appreciate—those of us who really like baseball, whether you pull for the Astros or not—just to see what he is doing,” Astros manager Jimy Williams said.
Clemens, a six-time Cy Young Award winner who has won 20 games six times in his career, started the 1986 season 14-0 for the Boston Red Sox. The best start in Astros history came in 1988, when Juan Agosto went 10-0.
“This doesn’t surprise anybody in this room, we’ve seen him do this since the season started,” teammate Jeff Bagwell said.
Clemens has held opponents to fewer than two runs in eight of his 11 starts this season.
The Mariners beat the Astros 5-0 on Monday for their third straight win since a three-game losing streak. Scott Spiezio had a solo homer, two singles and two RBIs, and Clint Nageotte pitched six shutout innings in his first major league start for Seattle, which had 11 hits.
Biggio doubled for the Astros, who have lost three of their last four.