Roger Clemens again failed in his bid to win 300 games today. The Yankees won 10-9 in 17 innings, but when Clemens left after six, he led 8-6. Clemens had an 7-1 lead going into the fifth but like in his Memorial Day start, he seemed to hit a wall, just like the one against which the batters were slugging his pitches.
But Roger was the biggest Yankee problem in the game: he at least left in the lead. The fifth put Yankees defensive woes on full display as they committed three errors and allowed five runs. Jeter and Soriano had consecutive errors. Soriano had another on the day and Jeter could have been called for a ball he missed to re-start the Tigers' rally in the fifth. This was a ball maybe two steps to Jeter's right that even Tanner from The Bad News Bears could have gotten to but was scored a hit by a liberal, homer scorer. Maybe the Yankees don't need relief pitchers but rather relief middle infielders to cover for Jeter and Soriano. In fact on the Eric Munson ball that Soriano threw away in the fifth it appeared that Clemens (correctly) dove for the ball as it went by him rather than allow his infielders to touch the ball. Also, Juan Rivera had his requisite miscue in left, hitting a runner at third with a throw also in the fifth.
The other Yankee deficiency, relief pitcher, prevented Clemens from winning the game as Sterling Hitchcock and Antonio (I'm not Tony Orlando) Asuna coughed up the lead. Asuna may be the first pitcher in a long while to end the year with a WHIP (1.52) greater than his ERA (1.66). Of course, the run he gave up today was Hitchcock's, not his. The rest of the Yankee bullpen consisted mostly of seven and two-third innings from David Wells and Mariano Rivera. With the Sox shoring up their starting pitcher problems by acquiring Kim, the Yankees had better start addressing the relief pitching needs, unless Weaver again resurrects his year in the bullpen (like he did in 2002).
So the Rocket goes again on Saturday in Wrigley Park. And we fans get to see an historic game being played under the dog-and-pony show that is interleague play. Maybe the defense will show up for that one and he can get over the 300-win hump. We'll see.