Kenny Rogers was one of baseball’s best pitchers this season going into the All-Star break. On Friday, he looks to pick up where he left off as the Detroit Tigers continue their three-game series against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park.
Rogers (11-3, 3.85 ERA) was tied for second in the majors with 11 wins before the All-Star break. After winning his last four decisions, he earned a start in Tuesday’s All-Star game where he gave up one run—a solo homer to New York Mets third baseman David Wright—in two innings.
“I got to start an All-Star Game and for that to happen at this stage of my career is special,” the 41-year-old left-hander said. “Other than that one pitch, I’m satisfied. It was a fantastic experience and I’m proud to have been a part of this.”
It’s been quite a turnaround for Rogers, whose 14 wins with the Texas Rangers in 2005 were overshadowed by his 20-game suspension—later reduced to 13 games—for an altercation with a cameraperson. Signed as a free agent by the Tigers, Rogers has found an ideal spot mentoring his younger teammates while cementing his own role as the staff ace.
Rogers is 19-13 with a 3.74 ERA in 50 appearances against the Royals. He is 1-0 in two starts against the Royals this season, giving up six runs over 12 1-3 innings. The southpaw has won his last five decisions against Kansas City since a loss April 28, 2004, spanning six starts.
The Tigers (60-29) became the first team in the majors to win 60 games by rallying for a 6-4 win Thursday. Detroit had four consecutive hits and took advantage of two errors by Royals third baseman Mark Teahen in a five-run fifth inning to post its fourth win in five games and 22nd in its last 28.
“This is a period of time for the next two or three weeks where some teams decide which way they’re going to go,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Detroit is 9-0 against Kansas City this season, its longest winning streak in franchise history against the Royals, who entered the league in 1969.
Teahen went 2-for-4 with a home run and a triple for the Royals, whose 31-57 record is the worst in the American League and better than only the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite the loss, Kansas City is 13-8 since June 18.
“We’ve got a lot of room to grow,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said before the game. “But you know, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With our energy and the way we play, I have no complaints.”
The Royals (31-57) will hand the ball to Mark Redman (6-4, 5.27), who has won his last six decisions. The left-hander pitched eight strong innings in his last start July 6 against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing two runs and five hits in a 6-2 victory.
“We’re on a good roll as a team and we just need to continue to do that,” said Redman, who is 2-3 with a 4.60 ERA in five starts against the Tigers. “People are going to say what they want to. Writers are going to write what they want to write. You can fire back if you want or you can take defense. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to fire back. The way to do it is out on the field and just keep performing.”