Kenny Rogers earned the starting nod for the American League in the All-Star game based on his fantastic first half for the rejuvenated Detroit Tigers. His last six weeks, however, haven’t been All-Star worthy.
Rogers looks to return to his early-season form when the Tigers continue their three-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park on Saturday.
Rogers (11-5, 4.63 ERA) began the season 11-3 with a 3.17 ERA as the Tigers (73-36) bolted to the best record in the majors. But since then, the 41-year-old left-hander has struggled, even as his team continues to win.
“None of this is what we were seeing earlier, it’s a bad streak,” Rogers said. “I’m not going to give up trying, that’s for sure. I’m sure there’s always something else I can try to do.”
Rogers is just 1-2 with a 9.29 ERA in his last seven starts, which includes a loss to the Indians on July 25, an outing that lasted just 2-3 inning. He was pulled after giving up five hits and seven runs and was eventually the losing pitcher in a 12-7 defeat.
“(He’s just missing) in some cases,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “In some cases I think he gets a little frustrated when somebody lays off a tough pitch that he thought he made. I believe he’ll pitch good Saturday night.”
Despite the struggles, the Tigers are 5-2 in Rogers’ last seven starts and 16-6 overall with him on the mound this season.
Rogers is 2-2 with a 6.98 ERA in four starts against the Indians (47-61) this season and is 15-16 with a 5.45 ERA in 53 games—30 starts—against Cleveland in his career.
The Tigers rallied for a 7-6 victory in Friday’s series opener, as Craig Monroe hit a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth inning to put Detroit ahead.
“We just stayed with it and got the big blow to win the game,” Leyland said. “I didn’t have a good feeling about this game. It was an easy one to just pack it in. But we didn’t do that.”
Detroit has won 10 of 14 meetings with Cleveland this season.
Paul Byrd (7-6, 5.00), who starts for the Indians on Saturday, has also been struggling despite solid run support from his offense. The right-handeer has allowed 13 runs in seven innings over his last two starts.
Cleveland averages 8.06 runs in Byrd’s starts, giving him the second-best support in the majors, but the right-hander has still struggled to win games. He’s lasted less than five innings in three of his past five starts and has allowed at least nine hits in four of those outings.
Byrd is 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts against the Tigers this season and is 6-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 12 career games—11 starts—against Detroit.
He didn’t earn a decision in the 12-7 victory over Detroit on July 25 after allowing 10 hits and seven runs in three innings.
“They just put the bat on the ball,” Byrd said. “If I hung a pitch, it went over the wall. If I made a good pitch, they put it in play. They’re a very pesky team.”