Roger Clemens tried to help the New York Yankees’ tired pitching staff by making a rare relief appearance his last time out. He’ll now look for a little help himself as he attempts to register his 350th win.
Clemens hopes the Yankees can break out of their offensive slump on Wednesday when they continue their three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
The 44-year-old right-hander beat Pittsburgh in his first start for New York (36-38) on June 9, but dropped his next two outings against the New York Mets and Colorado. On Saturday, Clemens (1-2, 5.09 ERA) warmed up in the bullpen, but did not pitch in the Yankees’ 6-5, 13-inning loss in San Francisco.
He did, though, appear in relief Sunday against the Giants, allowing one run, one hit and a walk to Barry Bonds in New York’s 7-2 defeat. It was Clemens’ first regular-season appearance as a reliever since he was a rookie with Boston in 1984.
“If the manager trusts you enough to put you in, you want to be ready,” Clemens said. “I watched the last couple of days. Any chance I can give the bullpen guys a chance to rest - they’ve been taxed.”
Clemens helped tire out the bullpen Thursday in Colorado, allowing four runs and seven hits in just 4 1-3 innings of a 4-3 loss. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is trying to become the first pitcher to reach 350 victories since Warren Spahn pitched a shutout Sept. 29, 1963, with the Milwaukee Braves.
The Yankees fell to 1-6 on their nine-game road trip with a 3-2 loss in Tuesday’s series opener. Scott Proctor walked three in the ninth inning, including Ramon Hernandez with the bases loaded to force in the winning run.
New York is averaging 3.0 runs per game on the trip after scoring 7.2 while winning 11 of its previous 12 contests.
Baltimore, meanwhile, improved to 4-3 under interim manager Dave Trembley, who replaced the fired Sam Perlozzo last week with the team mired in an eight-game losing streak.
“They’re having fun playing baseball,” Trembley told the Orioles’ official Web site. “They’re playing with confidence and a lot more poise. They’re relaxed. The guys care. They’re just playing as a team and I think the guys are a lot more responsible for themselves and the direction in which this club’s going to go.”
Clemens, who is one of a record seven pitchers in their 40s scheduled to start in the major leagues on Wednesday, has been successful against Baltimore (33-43) in his career.
His 22 wins against the Orioles are the most among active pitchers, but he is just 6-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 17 starts at Camden Yards. Clemens hasn’t pitched in Baltimore since a 6-3 win on Sept. 16, 2003, during his first stint with the Yankees.
He will be opposed by Erik Bedard (5-4, 3.60), who has won his last two starts against New York, including a 6-4 victory at Yankee Stadium on April 8 in which he allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings.
The left-hander won for the first time in four starts Thursday, giving up two runs over six innings in a 6-3 victory at San Diego. Bedard had been just 1-2 in his previous nine outings despite posting a 2.25 ERA in those appearances.
He strained his left hamstring against the Padres, but is on track to start Wednesday.
“There’s no reason to believe, right now, that he won’t take his regular turn,” Trembley said.
The Orioles received some bad news Tuesday when they learned shortstop Miguel Tejada will likely be sidelined into August with a fractured left wrist.
Tejada, batting .306 with seven homers and 41 RBIs, played in 1,152 straight games - the fifth-longest streak in baseball history - before being placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday.
“There’s nothing I can do,” Tejada said. “I don’t want to be out. It’s tough for me because I like to play baseball. I just hope I heal pretty good and can be back before (August).”