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Clemens vs. Sox: Pennant on line
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10/15/2003 10:24 PM ET 
Clemens vs. Sox: Pennant on line
Rocket gets a final battle against Beantown
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Roger Clemens hopes to beat Pedro Martinez again on Thursday, this time with the American League pennant at stake. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
  • Martinez not nervous about Game 7

    NEW YORK -- It seems only fitting that Roger Clemens finds himself pitching against Boston to extend his career for one more week.

    The Rocket, whose bittersweet relationship with Red Sox Nation has been well documented since his departure from New England nearly seven years ago, will try to put yet another dagger through his former team's heart Thursday night when he takes the mound for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.

    Clemens will once again butt heads with Pedro Martinez, whom he outdueled Saturday in Game 3 at Fenway Park, a scrum-filled affair that was won by New York, thus adding yet another colorful chapter to the nearly century-old rivalry. Only this time, the game will be at Yankee Stadium with Martinez facing the wrath of an angry crowd.

    The Rocket wasn't addressing the media Wednesday after New York's Game 6 loss, relaying a simple message through the media relations department.

    "I'll be here tomorrow," said Clemens, who will be confronted with his baseball mortality yet again.

    The fact that the Yanks and Red Sox came to loggerheads the last time Martinez and Clemens pitched only adds to the drama of this one. Martinez, who will be making his fourth start of the postseason, is 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA in seven career playoff starts.

       Roger Clemens   /   P
    Height: 6'4"
    Weight: 238
    Bats/Throws: R/R

    More info:
    Player page
    Astros site

    The Yanks are hoping that they will get the same Clemens they saw on the mound Saturday at Fenway Park. He was calm, composed and never lost his focus as the game seemed to deteriorate around him.

    "You know, going into that game, [pitching coach] Mel [Stottlemyre] and I both felt Roger's temperament was perfect for it," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He has been so good. I think, since his 300th victory, he has been, I don't know, he just seems to be very comfortable with what he's doing. His stuff has been very consistent.

    "That game the other day, he did get revved up and certainly stayed within himself and hopefully it's the same tomorrow," Torre continued. "Let's admit it, this is it. You really have to do a good job of talking yourself into making yourself believe it's just another baseball game. You don't leave anything in the bag tomorrow. You have two great pitchers. Roger I'm sure is up for the task and I'm sure Pedro is, too."

    The Rocket is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA thus far in the playoffs. He is 8-6 with a 3.34 ERA in 23 career postseason starts. Eight of those starts have come in the LCS or the World Series for the Yankees. It's a stage on which he excels. Clemens is riding a five-game winning streak in those games, and is 5-1 while posting a 1.76 ERA during the LCS and World Series for the Bombers.

        Jorge Posada   /   C
    Height: 6'2"
    Weight: 200
    Bats/Throws: S/R

    More info:
    Player page
    Hit chart
    Yankees site

    New York catcher Jorge Posada said he didn't have to do much Saturday with Clemens, just sit back and watch him pitch. He admits that he won't talk much to Clemens when he's on the mound, letting The Rocket police himself.

    "Sure I want Roger to be strong," Posada said. "I'm sure he'll be pumped up and not saying too much. We'll just see what he's doing out there and go with the plan."

    Andy Pettitte, a close friend of Clemens, wasn't able to close the Red Sox out in Game 6. But he has faith that Clemens will get the job done in the finale.

    "Roger's been there before," Pettitte said. "I really expect him to throw a great game."

    If The Rocket wants to keep firing for another week, he's going to have to.

    Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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