Roger Clemens neither looks nor sounds like a man who is in the
final season of his career--again. With his fastball reaching the
mid-90s and his splitter as nasty as ever, the 41-year-old
Clemens beat the Reds 6-1 last Friday to become the first
five-game winner in the majors. He threw 108 pitches in six
innings, striking out six and allowing the earned run. Clemens
went to 5-0 for the first time since 1999 and became the first
Astros pitcher ever to win five times in April.
When asked by reporters whether he might return next season,
Clemens, who ended a two-month retirement from the Yankees to
sign a one-year, $5 million deal with Houston in January, said,
"Once I made this commitment, I had such a huge challenge ahead
of me. Every time I go out there, it seems like another
challenge. That's enough for me right now."
The six-time Cy Young winner has looked as sharp and as strong as
ever. At week's end Clemens was third in the league in hits
allowed per nine innings (5.85), seventh in strikeouts per nine
innings (8.91) and tied for fourth in ERA (1.95)--numbers that
are all better than Clemens's career averages in those
categories. "The most impressive thing about him," says Astros
catcher Brad Ausmus, "is how high his intensity and focus is on
every single pitch." --A.C.