the disintegration of Kenny Rogers


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Apparently Thursday was some sort of Seniors Day promotion at Comerica. And Kenny Rogers was the starting pitching. Insert several hundred cheap ‘old lol’ jokes here.

Of course if Kenny had pitched, you know, WELL, maybe we could have avoided the har har a senior pitching for the seniors! oldsterrrrrs! business. Instead he allowed six runs over two innings. At least he didn’t walk anyone?

It was almost a Verlanderian outing in its brevity and suckitude, although it did differ in several key ways. For one thing, Kenny only threw 39 pitches, as opposed to the 70-some-odd that Verlander usually throws in the same number of innings: they just happened to be 39 really awful, extremely hittable pitches.

The other differences are less encouraging. Verlander has a bad 4.74 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Kenny has an even worse 5.49 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. In his last 12 outings, Verlander has had six quality starts, all of which resulted in Tiger wins. That’s not great, mind you; the non-quality starts were usually REALLY bad, and there were all kinds of problems with even the quality starts (PITCH COUNT). But in his last 12 outings, Kenny has had four quality starts, and only two of those resulted in Tiger wins.

For comparison, I offer Armando Galarraga, who in his last 12 outings has NINE quality starts (and one start where he gave up two runs in 5.2 innings — in other words, one out away from making that a total of ten out of 12), with a 3.17 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

The difference between Kenny/Verlander and Arrrrmando is that Kenny and Verlander are terrible at throwing a baseball this season, and Arrrrmando is not. The difference between Kenny and Verlander is that Verlander, who is having his WORST SEASON EVER, is still pitching better than Kenny, and Verlander is 25 years old to Kenny’s 43. There’s no seven-year conversion for pitcher age like there is with dogs, but you can probably take that to mean something like… I dunno, Verlander has the arm of a 40 year old and Kenny has the arm of an 80 year old man.

Verlander, basically, is salvageable (we hope. Oh, how sincerely we hope). Kenny? Well…

Rogers has spent years defying his age. Now he has to decide if he’s simply trying to defy the stats.
“I assess my ability and my responsibility as much as anyone,” Rogers said. “That will easily have a bearing on what I want to do. I’m not one to hang on. I want to pitch well.”

Rogers isn’t going to make any decisions now, not in this state. The way he finishes the season, though, will have a bearing on what he decides to do come the offseason. To decide anything now, he said, would be “a decision out of frustration.”

Yet when he came off the field Thursday to polite cheers, not boos, that had an effect on him, too.

“I can’t even explain what that feeling is,” Rogers said, “to know you have support like that. Supportive as they have been, I think that makes you want it even more, which isn’t a good thing.”
Jason Beck/DetroitTigers.com article

Let’s not even get into the fact that Kenny gets ‘politely cheered’ after a horrific outing like that, while certain other Tigers players get booed for bad play. That would probably take a whole other series of posts to hash out properly. Just pointing it out for now.

He was thinking about retiring after last season. It’s obvious that he’s thinking about it again right now, and he probably should be. If he wanted to play another season, could he do it? Maybe. I would guess that some team could probably eke a solid first half out of him, like the Tigers did this year. But I don’t think he has it in him to pitch like he did in 2006 ever again, and I don’t think he even has it in him to maintain a straight line for an entire season anymore.

He’s going to finish out the season, such as it is, barring injury. Beyond that, well. He’s had a long career. It’s probably time.

The Race to .500!

Today’s loss means that we still need 14 wins to reach the promised land, and we have only 8 losses left to spare.

Friday we head off to the Gopher Dome. The game’s at 8:10 pm EDT, Arrrrrrrrmando vs. Francisco Liriano. I would kind of like to see a hard-fought, low-scoring, near-complete-game-on-both-sides pitching duel. When was the last time we had one of those? I honestly can’t remember. Wow, that’s depressing. Go Tigers!

8 responses to “the disintegration of Kenny Rogers

  1. I’ll never forget Kenny Rogers for beating the Yankees in the Division Series but I think it is time for him to retire.
    I kind of feel like this is a baseball version of “Old Yeller” with Rogers as a rabies infected doggie.

  2. Old Yeller, ha ha, ouch.
    Hey, Kenny pitched (and won) the first and so far only World Series game I’ve seen in person. Unless he does something completely whacky between now and retirement, I’m always gonna remember him like that (all the way up in the 3rd deck, we couldn’t see any pine tar anyways :P).

  3. Love the photo! He looks like he should be mining for gold.

  4. Dirt! It was DIRT I tell ya!!! ;)

  5. Supportive Detroit fans… hmm. I think Jason Grilli and Gary Sheffield would call us something else… :P

  6. Phil, hey, so far as we could tell, it was nothing at all… ;)
    Lisa, maybe his next career?
    PfP, precisely.

  7. I’m really offended by the photo. I respect Mr. Rogers. Morever, the image discriminates against all older adults.

  8. Baseball discriminates against older adults. Older adults who don’t shoot steroids into their butts, anyways.

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