BASEBALL TONIGHT EXTRA
Tigers rolling right along
The Tigers keep rolling, winning their eighth straight game on Tuesday as their bats continued to sizzle. Detroit scored nine runs and made a couple of Web-Gem worthy defensive plays late in its win over the Mariners on Tuesday.
Gary Sheffield is starting to hit, something that Magglio Ordonez has done all season long, and that makes a big difference in the Tigers' lineup. This is the second straight season that the Tigers have won eight straight games. They haven't won nine in a row since 1984, another memorable season in Tigers annals, one in which the team last won the World Series. This year's squad is still trying to get into first place in the American League Central, fighting off those pesky Indians.
CLEMENS HAS BETTER CHANCE TO STAY HEALTHY WITH YANKEES
One thing the New York Yankees were real proud of at the start of the season was their bullpen. And by May 1, they had almost destroyed it.
By bringing Roger Clemens in, the Yankees know they can trust him to take the ball every fifth day -- which is what they had hoped to get out of Carl Pavano. This proves that the MVP for the Yankees -- for a long, long time -- has been owner George Steinbrenner. He does not mind paying players a lot of money if it means having a chance to win a World Series and Clemens gives Steinbrenner and the Yankees an opportunity to do that.
Not that much is needed from Clemens other than to take his turn and stay healthy. If the Yankees get things right in the bullpen, then they should get back to the postseason.
He might not face the National League like he was the last three seasons, but one thing that will work in Clemens' favor is the fact that he won't be batting in the American League. In my final year in 1994, I got off to a good start with the Cardinals and won a few games in a row. In one game I hit a standup double, but as I left the batters' box I pulled a hamstring. I wasn't the same the rest of the season, and that did it for me. Clemens is helping himself by not taking two or three at-bats a game; the biggest problem with pitchers as they get older is their legs. Taking away those at-bats is only going to help Roger because now all he has to do is pitch. Eliminating some of the possibilities for an injury is a positive.
The surprise to me is that he will be coming back so soon; I don't think even Roger wanted to do that. But when you have the GM calling you and Derek Jeter sending you text messages, you change your plans.
FORWARD THINKING: WEDNESDAY
• Mets at Giants, 3:35 p.m. ET: John Maine (5-0, 1.37) leads the majors with his 1.37 ERA, and is holding hitters to a .179 batting average. He'll be opposed by Matt Morris (4-1, 3.20), who has a 1.83 ERA in three starts at home for the Giants.
• Phillies at Diamondbacks, 6:40 p.m. ET: This game will pit two left-handers who are a combined 87-years-old. Jamie Moyer (3-2, 2.85) has given up just one home run in 41 innings pitched (six starts) for the Phillies. Randy Johnson (0-2, 6.50), meanwhile, has allowed five homers in 18 innings pitched (three starts).
• Padres at Braves, 7:35 p.m. ET Two all-time greats who are also former teammates will face off in this contest. Greg Maddux (2-2, 3.96), the active career leader with 335 wins, will get the start for the Padres. John Smoltz (4-1, 3.35) has a 1.71 ERA in three home starts.
• A's at Royals, 8:10 p.m. ET: The No. 1 and No. 3 leaders in ERA in the American League will square off in this game. Dan Haren (3-2, 1.75) is unbeaten in his last five starts for the A's. Gil Meche (3-1, 2.23), meanwhile, is also unbeaten in his last five starts.