Clemens attempts to slow down the streaking Braves as the Houston Astros begin a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.
Clemens, 41, is just two wins behind Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton, both with 324 victories, for 12th place on the career list.
However, the six-time Cy Young Award winner is 0-2 with a 5.85 ERA in three career regular season outings against Atlanta. Clemens’ only win against Atlanta came in Game 4 of the 1999 World Series, when he held the Braves to one run and four hits through 7 1-3 innings to clinch the championship for the New York Yankees.
The All-Star right-hander is 12-3 with a 2.77 ERA after 21 starts for Houston this year. Clemens hit a rough patch at the end of June, but appears to be back on track after posting wins in two of his last three starts.
Clemens drew some unwanted attention this week when it was revealed that he had been ejected from his 10-year-old son’s youth league baseball game in Craig, Colo on Saturday. Clemens was banished to a parking lot after he allegedly spit a seed at an umpire who called his son out on a close play.
“It wasn’t like he was shouting or came storming on the field, like a Mike Piazza moment,” said Ron Stapp, whose son made the phantom tag on Kacy Clemens on a steal attempt.
Even so, the umpire said the seed hit his pants cuff and Clemens wound up watching the rest of game from his car, peering over a fence as Kacy and the Katy (Texas) Cowboys lost to the Bakersfield (Calif.) Curve 11-5.
While Clemens was in Colorado, the Astros took two of three in Cincinnati over the weekend.
Houston manager Phil Garner improved to 9-8 since taking over for Jimy Williams after the All-Star break.
Garner hopes Clemens can cool off the surging Braves. Atlanta went 20-5 in July and has won five in a row to take a commanding 5 1/2 game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East.
The entire Braves pitching staff enjoyed a productive July, including Tuesday’s starter Russ Ortiz, who went 5-0 with a 1.67 ERA in six starts. He’s won six straight decisions to move into a tie with Clemens for second in the NL with 12 wins.