Astros’ All-Time Best Seasons: Starting Pitchers

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2004: Roger Clemens

Aug 11, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; General view of Minute Maid Park before a game between the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The 2003-2004 offseason marked the beginning of some fun times for the Houston Astros with the signings of Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, and the acquisition of Brandon Backe. Going into the 2004 season, expectations were very high in the city of Houston, with ticket becoming sold out within hours of their release. The season included a managerial change (Jimmy Williams fired and replaced by Phil Garner), a major mid-season acquisition (Carlos Beltran from the Kansas City Royals), the 2004 MLB All Star Game being played at Minute Maid Park, and the clinching of a Wild Card spot on the final day of the season.

In a rocky season filled with plenty of excitement, the one steady horse in the starting rotation was Roger Clemens. Clemens, at 41 years old, brought in a winning attitude to Houston and was able to make an immediate impact with the Astros, erasing any questions about his old age. Here are Roger Clemens’ stats from his 2004 season:

  • 18 Wins (2nd in NL)
  • 2.98 ERA (5th in NL)
  • 218 Strikeouts (5th in NL)
  • 1.16 WHIP (8th in NL)
  • .217 Batting Average Against (4th in NL)
  • 214.1 Innings Pitched (8th in NL)
  • 5.5 WAR
  • National League All Star
  • National League Cy Young Award Winner

With Andy Pettitte being out most of the 2004 season due to injury, the Astros looked towards Roger Clemens to anchor the pitching rotation and he did just that. Winning his seventh Cy Young Award, Clemens was able to leave his age out of the question and contribute to a successful Houston Astros team.

Clemens was also very successful in the 2004 postseason, compiling a 2-1 record with a 3.60 ERA and 21 strikeouts in four games. Unfortunately, the one blemish on his 2004 season would be the loss that he took in St. Louis in Game 7 of the NLCS after giving up a tw0-run home run to Scott Rolen in the bottom of the 6th inning.

This is a video of Roger Clemens’ return from retirement on April 7, 2004, when he tossed seven innings of shutout ball in his debut with the Houston Astros against the San Francisco Giants, led by superstar slugger Barry Bonds.

Next: 2005: Roy Oswalt