So far, Roger Clemens is experiencing a fairy tale ending in Houston. The Astros haven’t been as fortunate.
One day after being named to the All-Star team, Clemens will try to become the NL’s second 11-game winner when he leads the inconsistent Astros in the opener of a three-game series with the San Diego Padres.
A nine-time All-Star in the AL, Clemens was among five starting pitchers voted to the NL team by major league players, managers and coaches. The 41-year-old right-hander is 10-2 in his first season with his hometown Astros, and is likely to start the midsummer classic on July 13 in Houston.
“Playing behind Roger and all of the games that he’s started, (he’s been) most impressive,” second baseman and fellow All-Star Jeff Kent said. “I’d hate to be in the batter’s box against him. So for me, he’s deserving to start.”
Before they host the All-Star game, the Astros need to win some games. They have split their last 12 and are coming off an 18-3 loss to Texas on Sunday.
Houston, which was expected to at least challenge for the NL Central crown, is only three games above .500 and seven games out of first. The Astros will play this series and then travel to Los Angeles for four games before the All-Star break.
The Padres’ 7-1 win over Kansas City on Sunday was spoiled by first baseman Phil Nevin leaving with a right knee injury and David Wells getting his latest impressive start interrupted when he fouled a ball off the inside of his right ankle.
Nevin was taken for an MRI. If he has torn cartilage, as suspected, he’ll require arthroscopic surgery and could be out for a minimum of two weeks. Ryan Klesko will move from left field to first base starting Monday.
”(Nevin) has been feeling it a little bit there,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s been getting treatment. They thought it was a piece of cartilage moving around, and it looks like it moved in a tough spot there.”
The Padres have won 10 of 13 to keep pressure on first-place San Francisco in the NL West.