PCL notes: Clemens wants consistency

No. 6 Astros prospect also looking to make Braves regret trade

By Chris Jackson / Special to MLB.com | May 7, 2012 6:35 AM ET

Paul Clemens does not pull any punches when it comes to analyzing his own pitching.

"It's been fair so far," the Astros' No. 6 prospect said. "I don't feel like I've had my game really at all this season. It's kind of been up and down. One night I have my stuff, I don't have my command. Some nights I have my command, I don't have my stuff. I'm ready for it all to click back like it has in the past."

Entering Thursday's game, Clemens was 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA in four starts for Oklahoma City.

Then came the crucible that is Albuquerque's Isotopes Park, which chewed up and spit out the 24-year-old right-hander.

The Isotopes tagged Clemens for seven runs on 10 hits and one walk in two-plus innings.

"I think a few of the guys have faced him in the past and they know he likes to attack the zone," Albuquerque's Scott Van Slyke said. "Once you get ahead in the count, you're going to get a fastball, maybe not right down the middle, but you have at least a decent chance of getting a hit. I think we were just swinging the bats well."

That game alone more than doubled Clemens' ERA from 2.05 to 4.50, but it is still early in the season for the RedHawks pitcher and his teammates.

"I'm kind of just trying to give us a chance to win," Clemens said. "I learned a lot in Major League camp, some of the older guys up there took me under their wings. Here it's more just do my job, give my team a chance. That's what I've been doing. Even when I don't have my best stuff I've been able to do that."

Clemens was one of four players acquired by the Astros in the trade that sent big league center fielder Michael Bourn to the Braves last summer.

Atlanta is stocked with a vast number of talented young arms, while Houston was sorely lacking in that regard. But while Clemens' path to the big leagues is seemingly clearer, he took something else from the trade.

"With the Braves, we had some very solid pitching," Clemens said. "But I took it more like they thought those guys were better than me, so I use that as motivation too. I want to show that organization they made a bad move to get ready of me."

Clemens will look to rebound today as he starts the finale of the RedHawks' four-game series at Omaha.

In brief

Homeland security: The Storm Chasers won their 13th straight game in Omaha on Sunday, pushing their overall record to 21-10, tops in the American Conference. The defending PCL champions have been led on the mound by lefty Ryan Verdugo (3-0, 2.87 ERA) and at the plate by catcher-designated hitter Max Ramirez (.320, six homers, 27 RBIs).

The son rises: Albuquerque's Scott Van Slyke has gone on a home run binge of late, with four in his last three games to tie for the PCL lead with eight overall. The son of former Pirates star Andy Van Slyke, Scott has hit .339 (38-for-112) with 23 RBIs playing first base and the outfield corners for the Isotopes. He entered the year as the Dodgers' No. 18 prospect.

Signs of life: Vinnie Catricala, the Mariners' No. 5 prospect, has started to heat up with the weather. The Tacoma third baseman went 10-for-23 with his first home run of the season and six RBIs from May 1 through Saturday. Catricala hit an eye-popping .349 with 25 home runs and 106 RBIs with Double-A Jackson and Class A Advanced High Desert last season.

Chris Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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