CLEMENS: Well, the home run's what killed us. I mean, you can't afford to make that mistake there. You know, it was a fastball down and away and it cut back over the zone. I mean, it's just a very hittable pitch. You know, pitcher's on deck. You don't want to give them that momentum.
Once Smoltzie got out of his troubles, I think the first or second inning, we had a couple chances. You know, I'm pretty used to the fact that it's going to be a close game again so you have to be mistake free. I was trying to be as stingy as possible.
And then when, you know, they capitalized with the home run, you know, it gets their momentum going.
The other pitch was, on a dry day, my man out there probably catches that ball. It was a good pitch down and away, he went the other way with it. Tried to make a great play on it. I like my guys being aggressive like that.
So that was it, really.
You mentioned the weather. Phil mentioned he thought maybe the sticky part of the mound bothered you. Was that a fact?
CLEMENS: I was dealing with it. Like I said, I was dealing with it.
You know, I was more worried about executing pitches, to be honest with you. You know, my ball was running and cutting, which it has been the last two or three weeks. So you just turn the ball over in your hand, trying to get one to track on line.
You know, Brad (Ausmus) and I were working like we normally do, they just got a couple key hits and got their crowd into it and, you know, you just, you know no different than I been doing, you know, again, the last month or even more than that. Just sit out there and grind, try and get through it and keep your guys close so you have somewhat of a chance.
Even in a loss, can part of you appreciate the fact that a 21 year old hit a home run off the greatest living pitcher most of us have ever seen?
CLEMENS: Yeah, I was just, you know, sitting back and letting him, you know, enjoy it over there. I mean, what else can you do? I mean, it was, you know it was a very hittable pitch. Guys on this level, whether he's 21 or 41, are going to hit that, and he took advantage of it.
So, I mean, you know, I've given up some home runs I'm sure in my career, but it was probably pretty exciting for that kid. You know, I know that, you know, again, the crowd definitely got into it. I mean, that's what you want to try to keep away from when you're pitching on the road.
Did the weather affect how you gripped your pitches, or did it affect your splitter, any of them more so?
CLEMENS: Not really. Not really. I was dealing with it. I didn't have a problem with that. They warned us during batting practice it was probably going to mist. If it started, we were going to continue to play. I wanted to make sure my footing was dry, especially my landing foot. If it got to a point where you were really worried about it, the guys would have came out, the ground crew would have came out and fixed it up.
I think you joked yesterday about not remembering the last start against Smoltz in the World Series. Five years later, pretty much both of you are going to the Hall of Fame, is this something you can't forget, being up against John in this situation?
CLEMENS: I wasn't joking. I didn't remember it. For a minute I thought it was Game 2. But obviously it was when you win the ring, it was Game 4 when we closed that out, I believe.
About going to the Hall of Fame, I mean, it's the next step. It's the furthest thing from my mind now because, you know, what you're trying to accomplish now as a team, I mean, that's the most important thing. We have goals. This team has goals and we're trying to attain them. You know, I'm sure we'll do things the most difficult way, the way this bunch is.
But, you know, that's the main focus.
But, yeah, I'm sure one day down the road it will, you know I'll look back one day and realize the guys that I had a chance to perform with and against that are there. I'm playing with probably two of them on my club now and a possible three, three guys that have a chance.
So, you know, I'll have time to look back on that, that's for sure.
All things considered, you guys split here.
CLEMENS: Yeah. I mean, you know, again, you know, we're glad to be going home, it's going to be packed and it will be loud; I'm looking forward to that. You know, again, that's what we play for, for the excitement of these situations. It's, you know I tell you what, it's sure a great deal of fun, what I've been through the last month, and to keep my mind off other things, it sure is fun. It's great to get back out in an environment you feel comfortable with, get out on the mound and just work and grind. That's all there is to it.
When you throw that pitch to McCann, I mean, how quickly do you go, "Uh oh, not a good pitch"?
CLEMENS: Just when I let it go, I kind of dropped my head when I released the ball. I'm able to pick up the baseball about a little bit before it catches the dirt, I think the dirt area. I saw it cutting. I mean, it's definitely a pitch that you want back when you see a ball cutting back over the plate.
But, you know, I threw the pitch I think it was 3 1 to him, next time I executed the pitch. That's what it was all about. I was able to make a good pitch down. I was able to get some rhythm, I think, in the I don't know, what was it, the fourth or fifth inning, started winding up, going over my head. I haven't done that in a while. Just looked for some rhythm to get the ball some movement and my location on the ball.
Never faced him. How much do you know about a kid like that?
CLEMENS: Nothing. Nothing really. I mean, you know, you still want to execute your pitches. It's no different than any other part any other time of the year, when Brad and I don't know a guy. We're going to go with our game plan and have them adjust.
Any kind of twinge in the hamstring at this point?
That's good news then, isn't it?
CLEMENS: It is.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less