Roger Clemens’ season is beginning to look all too familiar.
The Astros (40-42) have managed two total runs for Clemens (0-2, 2.38 ERA) in his first two starts. The 43-year-old right-hander gave up only three hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings Tuesday, but lost 4-0 to Detroit.
In his season debut June 22, Clemens allowed two runs in five innings—but lost 4-2 to Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano.
The lack of run support in nothing new for Clemens. Houston was shut out 17 times last season—nine with Clemens starting. He finished with a 1.87 ERA, but went only 13-8.
“It’s not like the guys aren’t trying, they’re grinding hard,” said Clemens, who went 0-5 with a 1.42 ERA in games the Astros didn’t score last season. “But the bottom line is, we’re going to have to make our own breaks. Nobody is going to hand anything to us, we made it to the World Series, so people are going to play us tough.”
The defeat to the Twins was the seven-time Cy Young Award winner’s only home start this season. He went 7-4 with a 2.33 ERA in 17 starts at Minute Maid Park in 2005.
Clemens is 3-3 with a 3.16 ERA in eight starts against the Cubs (30-51).
Houston defeated Texas 9-5 on Sunday and has won consecutive games for the first time since taking four in a row June 11-14.
“We want to get back on track again,” Craig Biggio said.
Three of the victories during that winning streak came in a sweep of the Cubs. Houston has won five of six against Chicago this year.
The Astros are looking to defeat the Cubs six straight times in a season for the first time since an 11-game winning streak from June 9-Aug. 30, 1980.
Lance Berkman, the only All-Star picked from the defending NL champions, went 3-for-5 on Sunday. He’s 10-for-27 (.370) with six RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak.
Biggio’s RBI single Sunday was the 2,874th hit of his career, pushing him past Babe Ruth for 36th all-time.
The Cubs recorded a season-high 20 hits in a 15-11 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Michael Barrett had a career-high four hits, including a home run, and rookie Angel Pagan hit his first two career homers as the Cubs earned just their second victory in 10 games and rebounded from Saturday’s heartbreaking 8-6 defeat. A.J. Pierzynski hit a three-run homer off Ryan Dempster with two out in the ninth in that game to lift the White Sox.
Barrett is batting .316 (24-for-76) in 21 games against the Astros since the start of last season, while Derrek Lee is 7-for-20 (.350) with five doubles in his career against Clemens.
Cubs rookie Carlos Marmol (1-2, 4.18) tries to follow up a strong outing in his last game when he makes his fifth career start Monday.
Marmol allowed one run, three hits and struck out a career-high eight in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-3 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday, but did not factor in the decision.
“Young Marmol pitched an outstanding game,” Chicago manager Dusty Baker said. “He tired a little bit there. … But he had good command.”
Marmol has allowed two runs in 12 1-3 innings in two of his starts, but has given up 11 runs in 11 2-3 innings in his other two.
Marmol allowed two hits in two scoreless innings of relief in his only appearance against Houston on June 6.