Roger Clemens launched a counterattack on the prevailing theory that he juiced up to revitalize his career (Houston Chron).
Roger Clemens' agent released an 18,000-word statistical report Monday to refute allegations that the pitcher's career rebounded around the time period he was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. "Clemens' longevity was due to his ability to adjust his style of pitching as he got older, incorporating his very effective split-finger fastball to offset the decrease in the speed of his regular fastball caused by aging,'' said the report, created by Randy Hendricks and two associates at his firm.
Excellent. True or not, at least Clemens's people put together some actual data. That effort deserves an 'A'. (Clemens Report found here) We wish we had that kind of help.
Clemens's first point -- that ERA is a better indicator of pitching effectiveness than W-L sounds good. We were also troubled by claim that Clemens totally revitalized his career when he went from Boston to Toronto. A look at the ERA values in the last 4 Clemens Boston years show that his ERA slipped slightly, although his W-L record slipped somewhat dramatically to 40-40. Injuries, run production by the Red Sox, any number of factors might contribute to Clemens's relative drop-off in production, including his age.
Clemens's agents look at Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Nolan Ryan, 3 pitchers who continued pitching into extended age ranges. Clemens's career appears similar in many ways to these other elite level pitchers. Every career, when examined, shows peaks and valleys.
Clemens's agents do not directly address the issue of steroids and HGH, however make reasonable claims about the aging, run support, and variability of an Hall of Fame level pitcher.
Here is the issue with the Mitchell Report on 1998:
On page 169, it is reported that Clemens approached McNamee sometime around June of 1998 about using steroids after learning about them from Jose Canseco at Canseco's Miami home. The report goes on to say: "McNamee injected Clemens approximately four times in the buttocks over a several-week period with needles that Clemens provided ... McNamee never asked Clemens where he obtained the steroids."
June of 1998. Let's look at Clemens's 1998 numbers:
I Split G GS GF W L S CG SHO IP ERA H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP
1st Half 18 18 0 9 6 0 2 0 119 3.55 96 54 47 7 56 0 120 4
2nd Half 15 15 0 11 0 0 3 3 115.2 1.71 73 24 22 4 32 0 151 3
Clemens's second half of 1998 s hows a remarkable, incredible performance. His ERA decreased from 3.55 to 1.71, while his record was 11-0. Juiced or not, an elite performance of the highest level for a team that won 12 more games than the prior year.
Whatever juice Roger Clemens's was using in 1998, that stuff needs to be bottled. Was Clemens's using the 'shoot-in-the-butt' kickapoo juice? You decide.