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Astros' arms heading to Motown

Astros' arms heading to Motown

CINCINNATI -- One has become a staple at the Midsummer Classic.

The other, just a rookie.

Pitching for the Astros might be the only thing Roger Clemens and Brad Lidge have in common.

Well, that and representing their team in this year's All-Star Game.

The All-Star Game, to be held at Detroit's Comerica Park on Tuesday, July 12 at 7 p.m. CT., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive, national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.

It's fitting that two Astros pitchers were named to the NL squad; what success Houston has had this season can be attributed to its hurlers. But for starter Clemens and closer Lidge, the experiences will be very different.

"It's very flattering," Clemens said. "Everything that's happened the past couple of years is icing on the cake. I didn't expect to be here. To be voted in by your peers is very special. I really appreciate it."

The appearance will be Clemens' 10th at the All-Star Game, including his third in a row.

Joining him will be Lidge, who is making his first trip to play with the best.

"I was surprised and honored," Lidge said. "The company I'm in right now is really incredible. I have a lot of respect for my peers. To make the player vote is extra special.

"I'm looking forward to all of it. We have so many [former] All-Stars on [the Astros], it's incredible. They all told me that no matter if I pitch or not, to soak it all in because it's an incredible experience."

And he doesn't need to look any further than Clemens to get that advice.

Clemens this season has been nothing short of, well, Roger Clemens. The ace of the staff, Clemens is 7-3 with a gaudy 1.41 ERA. Possibly his most incredible feat, however, is what he's done on the road. Clemens has allowed just one run, against Colorado on June 28, in seven starts away from home.

Lidge, on the other hand, has taken a different road to the All-Star Game.

In his second year as the Astros' closer, Lidge has 18 saves in 21 opportunities, boasting a 2.73 ERA. The right-handed Lidge, though, has been sidelined most of the last two weeks with an injury to his right bicep, making him questionable for the game.

"Right now, I'm concentrating on getting healthy," Lidge said. "Truth is, I want to get back and pitch for our team. Being in the All-Star Game is secondary. First things first."

Neither Lidge nor Clemens, though, could talk about the All-Star Game without mentioning a couple of the guys who weren't named to the squad.

All-Star Game 2005

The first name to come up was Roy Oswalt, who's easily been the No. 2 guy in the Astros' rotation this season, behind Clemens. Oswalt has a 10-7 record, but has put up a 2.54 ERA.

The right-handed Oswalt will still have an opportunity to make the trip to Detroit in the Final Vote beginning Sunday night.

"I hope the fans get behind [Oswalt]," Clemens said. "This kid needs to go. He's never been. He won 20 games last year, and he's doing it again for us this year. He could help that team with his arm. I know Tony [La Russa] will be managing to win the game, and Roy could really help."

Along with Oswalt, Morgan Ensberg was also left off the list.

Ensberg leads all National League third basemen with 22 home runs, 59 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .580.

"They both deserve it," manger Phil Garner said. "I think Roy and Morgan deserve to be on there as well. That's not to slight the players that have made it. It becomes a numbers game."

And for Clemens and Lidge, anyway, the numbers speak for themselves.

Both can be seen July 12 in Detroit donning Astros caps.

Kyle Jepson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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