Houston Astros starting pitcher Erik Bedard could not get out of the first inning after he surrendered six runs to the Oakland Athletics Monday night. However, that gave reliever Paul Clemens a great opportunity to showcase his talents over multiple innings.
Clemens, who was called up to the big leagues for the first time in his career last week, has historically been a starting pitcher in the minors, but the Astros preferred to start him out in the bullpen. However, he basically became the starting pitcher Monday when he had to eat up some innings for Houston.
The 25-year-old allowed just one hit and struck out three batters in 5 1/3 scoreless innings. In fact, the only innings the Astros did not give up runs were the five innings he pitched.
Clemens would have stayed in the game longer, but a dislocated finger on his throwing hand forced him out of the contest in the sixth inning. However, not before he recorded one more out. Clemens looked as if he wanted to continue pitching, but manager Bo Porter was not going to take any chances.
“It’s nothing major,” Clemens told Astros.com. “Anything that hits it awkwardly pops it right out. I could have popped it back in myself, but I wanted to make sure the trainer knew about it.”
Apparently, this is something that has “happened a thousand times” to Clemens, which is why he did not seem overly concerned about the injury. Regardless, it was still a great effort that he gave when the chips were down early in the game. Even though the Astros were blown out, Clemens was the true hero who emerged from the ashes.
“Clemens was outstanding,” Porter said, according to Astros.com. “He saved our bullpen and that puts us in a better position moving forward. It’s a luxury to have guys with the ability to start.”
His outstanding performance is what his teammates will take away from the loss, as it is something that could inspire the Astros to go on a win streak.