Rogers looks to win his season high-tying fourth straight decision on Friday when he faces a Los Angeles Angels team he hasn’t beaten in more than two years.
Rogers (14-6, 4.02 ERA) is 13-12 over the past three seasons after the calendar changes to August. This year, though, the AL starter for the All-Star game went 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in four August starts—including victories in his last three outings.
“I know I’ve won games in September before, or August, so it’s not a big deal,” he said. “I just want to start winning some games in October.”
Rogers has earned three of the last five wins for Detroit, which went just 13-16 in August to see its lead in the AL Central cut to 4 1/2 games over the defending world champion Chicago White Sox.
Detroit is 20-7 this season in games started by Rogers, who has already matched his win total from last year when he pitched for Texas. He posted a career-high 18 victories for the Rangers in 2004.
“He’s a professional pitcher,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “He’s pitching again and he’s pitching pretty darn good.”
The Tigers lost 6-4 to the New York Yankees on Thursday, their sixth defeat in their last eight games.
Rogers is 0-4 with a 4.06 ERA in six starts against the Angels since beating them 6-3 on April 20, 2004. He is 16-15 with a 4.17 ERA in 60 appearances against Los Angeles, which stopped a three-game slide with Wednesday’s 5-3 win over Seattle.
The Angels trail first-place Oakland by 7 1/2 games in the AL West.
“We have to play well every night,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “We know we have to put the wins up.”
Angels right-hander Ervin Santana (13-6, 4.34) will oppose Rogers and is looking to stay unbeaten against the Tigers. Santana is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA against Detroit in two career starts, including a 3-0 victory on April 24 when he allowed five hits and struck out a career-high 10 in six innings.
Santana earned only his second win in eight starts by beating the Yankees 12-7 on Saturday.
Angels right fielder Vladimir Guerrero has hit safely in 17 straight games, batting .433 (29-for-67) with 10 doubles, a homer and 16 RBIs over that span. Guerrero, who has 10 multihit games during the streak, is 10-for-22 with five doubles and a homer in his career against Rogers.
Los Angeles is 3-2 against Detroit this year and hasn’t lost the season series since going 5-6 in 1997. The Angels are 53-27 against the Tigers since the beginning of the 1998 season.