Tampa Bay (54-61) at Texas (61-52)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Arlington, TX, US
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Fri Aug 13, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Still struggling to find his first-half form, Kenny Rogers hopes to provide a much-needed boost for the Texas Rangers as they open a three-game series with the visiting Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Rogers was 12-3 when he made his second career appearance at this year’s All-Star Game in Houston. But the 39-year-old left-hander is just 1-3 in his last six starts, including an 11-5 loss at Baltimore on Sunday.

Rogers gave up seven runs, eight hits and walked five over four innings. He has surrendered three or more runs in five of his last six outings.

“The last few weeks, I don’t remember many very good outings,” said Rogers, who won a career-high eight in a row during the first half of the season. “I’ve been struggling a little bit. I know that. I’ll try and figure it out.”

Rogers is 7-1 with a 2.22 ERA in nine career starts against the Devil Rays. He beat them 9-0 at Texas on May 3, when he became the oldest Texas pitcher to throw a shutout since Nolan Ryan in 1991.

The Rangers, who have lost six of their last seven, expect Rogers to turn it around quickly.

“He hasn’t been able to get some counts in his favor,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “Some borderline pitches have gone the other way. But he’ll be there for us. He has been there all year for us.”

Texas’ latest defeat—a 5-1 setback to the AL East-leading New York Yankees on Thursday—left the team 2 1/2 games behind Oakland in the AL West race and two back of Boston for the wild card.

Alfonso Soriano had two of the Rangers’ five hits, extending his hitting streak to nine games. The All-Star second baseman is batting .405 (15-for-37) with three homers, six doubles and three RBIs during the run.

After an 8-3 victory in the opener of their four-game series at Boston on Monday, the Devil Rays dropped each of the last three, including Thursday’s 6-0 defeat.

Tampa Bay, which had won nine of 14 before its series with the Red Sox, has lost 11 of its last 12 road games.

Aubrey Huff went 2-for-3 for the Devil Rays, and is hitting .462 (18-for-39) with two homers, five doubles and five RBIs in his last 10 games.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Bell CWS vs. K. Rogers DET
8-8 Record 18-9
4.46 ERA 4.76
57 K 126
41 BB 66
1.32 WHIP 1.48