Clemens impresses in Astros' 2-1 loss to Angels

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm •  Published: September 15, 2013

HOUSTON (AP) — Detecting a drop in velocity with his pitches early on, Astros rookie right-hander Paul Clemens knew he had to get creative in order to be effective Sunday afternoon.

He did just that, giving the Astros seven strong innings in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Houston, a big league-worst 51-98, is on the verge of becoming the first major league team to reach triple figures in losses in three consecutive seasons since Kansas City from 2004-06. The Astros were 56-106 in 2011 and dropped to 55-107 last year, their final season in the National League.

If Clemens' progress is any indication, Houston has a reason to hope for improvement next season.

"It was impressive," Astros manager Bo Porter said of Clemens' outing. "I felt like he did a tremendous job of using all of his pitches."

The Astros' offense was another matter. The Astros left seven men on base and were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position.

Marc Krauss homered in the second for the Astros, his fourth of the season. Clemens, making his third career start, allowed both of the Angels' runs on six hits.

Clemens (4-5) was scratched from his previous scheduled start after developing a blister.

"My velocity being down, it actually allowed me to use my breaking stuff a little bit more, which has been what I think has gotten me in trouble after my first couple of months here," Clemens said. "When I got called up I wanted to show them I was here to compete and I went after guys aggressively with my fastball and it's starting to burn me.

"It feels like I'm giving up a home run every inning. I really want to focus on my execution and my pitch selection and not be so aggressive anymore and not challenge too many guys."

Result aside, Porter said the outing should be something for Clemens to build on.

"Especially if you look at his last outing and then him having to get scratched from his last start because of the blister and having to throw a couple of more bullpen sessions," Porter said. "For him to come out and pitch the way he pitched today, it is definitely a confidence booster."

Continue reading this story on the...