The Closer: Failure To Launch

Notes from a day in baseball:

1. Rocket Burned On Re-Entry. So, Outing No. 2. Roger Clemens pitched well, but the Tigers are rolling again and it wasn't enough. Clemens (0-2) threw six strong innings, but he gave up two walks in the seventh, and Detroit scored three runs after he was gone on its way to a 4-0 victory over the Astros. The Rocket also seemed a little miffed about being removed. Wasn't it only Monday night that Phil Garner said that Clemens would likely pitch as long as he wanted to in this one? He pulled him after 85 pitches. By the way, what's Garner doing calling Detroit the "hottest team on the planet."? Sure, the Tigers have won 15 of their past 17. But haven't the Red Sox won 10 straight? And what about Brazil?

2. Feel The Might Of My Scarlett Foot Coverings! I Cannot Be Defeated!. Since the dawn of time, man (and woman ...) has asked one, eternal question. How would the Red Sox fare against the National League? Before interleague play, that poser was rarely put to the test. But in 2006 we can tell you that Boston is doing just spledidly. The Red Sox's 9-4 win over the Mets on Tuesday not only killed New York's buzz for the moment, but was Boston's 10th straight win; all against NL opponents.

3. Bird Flu. And now we must speak of sadder things, of dreams gone awry; of a young man's heart yanked from his chestal area and stomped before his eyes. Why, why, why? On Tuesday it was the Indians' C.C. Sabathia who threw the baseball, and several daggers, into our heart. Cleveland 3, St. Louis 1. That's eight straight losses for those of you still counting.

4. More Than Your Average Joe. OK, now this is geting ridiculous. Feeling that his 4-for-5 performance on Monday was cheating the fans, catcher Joe Mauer went 5-for-5 on Tuesday — he's leading the majors with a .389 average — as the Twins beat the Dodgers 9-2.

5. Meanwhile, Somewhere In Canada ... And now the story of a pitcher who is coming off of a long layoff and getting better results than a certain Houston Astro. Toronto's A.J. Burnett tossed a shutout in his second start since returning from the DL, leading the Blue Jays over the Nationals 6-0.