Last Friday, I spent the evening watching the Houston Aeros hockey team play some team in red. Anyway, I went to the game with Jayne from What the Heck, Bobby, the blog that follows the Houston Astros minor league system. It stands to reason that in an evening fueled by Grey Goose, Dewers and twenty-somethings on skates that baseball would be a topic of conversation, right? Duh.
One of the topics that we wandered onto that evening was Jordan Lyles. We talked about his season and his woes the third time through the batting order last year. The first two times that hitters saw Lyles’ stuff he had the upper hand, but by the third at bat, hitters had his number. It was like clockwork and he was getting lit up like a Christmas tree. Is it something they can coach him through? That’s what I wondered.
I don’t have an answer to that particular question yet, and I’m working on it, but when I read Brian T. Smith’s article on Chron.com about Roger Clemens taking an active role with the Astros again, that exchange last week about Lyles is what immediately came to mind.
According to the Chronicle article, the Astros are expecting and hoping for a decent amount of involvement from Clemens this season.
“We’ve got the whole calendar mapped out, and we’re going to sort of figure out what makes sense,” Luhnow said Monday. “But the idea is to plug him in in spring training, plug him in throughout the season, and just have him get a lot more involved with our pitchers.”
So there you have it. Roger Clemens is going to be spending some time working with the Houston Astros pitching staff.
There’s been lots of buzz about Clemens in the last year. First there was the whole “pitching for the Skeeters” thing that fueled rumors of a posible start at Minute Maid Park again. Those rumors were squelched by Clemens himself. Now, we’re a day away from finding out what judge and jury have to say about Clemens, PEDs and history when the results from this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame voting are announced. Clemens, along with several other steroid-era players, appeared on the ballot for the first time this year.
What do I think about the influence of Roger Clemens on the young pitching staff in Houston? I think it could be outstanding. The Astros have needed reinforcements in pitching for quite some time. With a rotation of young kids, the need increases. If you have a pitcher like Clemens ready, willing and able to impart some advice, knowledge and help, you have to be excited.
Imagine being a 22 year old pitcher, finding your way in the major leagues and your new mentor just happens to be a guy with 7 Cy Young Awards, a guy who has two World Series rings, a guy who was named an All-Star 11 times and the All-Star MVP once, a guy who had a career 3.12 ERA. Not many pitchers get the opportunity to be coached and mentored by a player like that.
So thinking back to last week when the Aeros were beating that team in red and my ramblings with Jayne about Jordan Lyles, do I think that that the Astros could use the expertise of Roger Clemens? Absolutely.
Terri Schlather (AGirlintheSouth) is the tortured Senior Houston Astros Writer for Aerys Sports. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her ridiculous ramblings on sports, vodka and the weeone on twitter @agirlinthesouth.