This Day In Baseball: 4 July 2005

Monday, July 04 2005 @ 12:01 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

Now the rooms are all empty down at Frankie's joint
And the highway she's deserted down to Breaker's Point
There's a lot of people leaving town now
Leaving their friends, their homes
At night they walk that dark and dusty highway all alone

Lee Mazzilli takes charge. Sammy Sosa (hitting .227, slugging .395, and 1 for his last 33) sat out yesterday for the second day in a row.

You knew it was too good to last. Nick Johnson, having been out since bruising a heel while scoring a run against the Blue Jays (divine punishment, meted out), goes on the DL retroactive to June 27.

Barry Zito halted the Buehrle Express yesterday, giving the White Sox ace his first loss since April 10. Buehrle allowed 14 hits in 6.1 IP and made a crucial throwing error in Oakland's 4 run sixth inning. The A's took 2 of 3 from the White Sox, who have lost 20 of their last 24 games in Oakland. Ozzie called it "the House of Terrors."

Dontrelle Willis pitched a 3 hit shutout for his 13th win, and almost certainly spared Blue Jays fans the awful specter of Chris Carpenter starting the All-Star Game. As if Voldemort wasn't bad enough....

I know, it's almost impossible to cheer for him. But Roger Clemens is one of the greatest baseball players any of us is ever likely to see. He pitched another 7 shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 1.41 and improving his record to 7-3. He made sure he had enough runs by banging out a double and an RBI single- he's now batting .281, which is 88 points higher than what NL hitters are batting against him.

One can only wonder what might have been. After all, Clemens took up swinging a bat pretty late in life. From ages 21 to 32, Clemens had 0 (ZERO) major league at bats. From ages 33 through 40, he had just 20 at bats (and went 4-20, .250). Last year, at the age of 41, he finally got to swing the bat on a fairly regular basis for the first time since high school, and hit .167 in 72 at bats. But it looks like he's getting the hang of it now....

We have a ML debut on today's schedule (Justin Verlander of the Tigers), and Tanyon Sturtze making a spot start in place of Carl Pavano, who has a sore shoulder. Tomorrow the Yankees will call on the 41 year old guy to start on short rest. So here's the holiday schedule:

Baltimore (Chen 6-5, 3.54) at New York (Sturtze 2-1, 3.43) 1:05
Detroit (Johnson 5-6, 3.39) at Cleveland (Elarton 4-3, 4.99) 1:05
Tampa Bay (Nomo 5-6, 6.29) at Chicago (McCarthy 0-1, 7.17) 7:05
Detroit (Verlander 0-0, 0.00) at Cleveland (Elarton 4-3, 4.99) 7:05
Boston (Miller 2-2, 5.14) at Texas (Rodriguez 2-1, 3.65) 8:05
Seattle (Franklin 3-10, 4.85) at Kansas City (Howell 1-2, 6.98) 8:10
Minnesota (Silva 6-3, 3.55) at Los Angeles (Lackey 6-2, 3.84) 9:05

New York (Ishii (2-7, 5.68) at Washington (Patterson 3-2, 3.17) 1:05
San Diego (Lawrence 5-6, 4.28) at Houston (Oswalt 10-7, 2.54) 2:05
Cincinnati (Ramirez 0-3, 6.75) at San Francisco (Rueter 2-7, 5.03) 4:05
Philadelphia (Lidle 7-6, 4.10) at Pittsburgh (Williams 6-5, 3.68) 4:05
Milwaukee (Sheets 3-6, 3.63) at Florida (Olsen 1-0, 3.86) 6:05
St.Louis (Morris 9-1, 3.31) at Arizona (Webb 8-4, 3.24) 6:10
Chicago (Wood 1-1, 5.29) at Atlanta (Davies 3-2, 4.63) 7:05
Los Angeles (Weaver 7-7, 4.51) at Colorado (Kim 2-7, 6.04) 8:05