Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Alright, enough is enough here. Who is that old guy pitching for the Detroit Tigers and what has he done with the real Kenny Rogers?
Rogers continued his brilliant postseason on Sunday, as he tossed eight more scoreless innings to lead Detroit to a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, as the Tigers evened the best-of-seven World Series at a game apiece in Game 2 at Comerica Park.
"I think for me I'm just glad I hung in there and persevered just so I could be here at this point in time, not that I expected this by any means," Rogers said. "I know what I'm capable of and dominating teams is not one of them very often. (I) probably got lucky in a lot of ways."
At this point it is more than just a good postseason for Rogers, he is bordering on legendary status. The 41-year-old lefty has yet to allow a run in 23 innings in the playoffs, which is the longest scoreless streak to start a postseason since 1981 when Jerry Reuss didn't allow a run in his first 23 innings. The only pitcher to go further into a postseason without allowing a run was Christy Mathewson (27 innings in 1905).
"I'm no Christy Mathewson, that's for sure, but I've had scoreless streaks before," Rogers said. "I'm so glad it's happening now for us as a team, it helps us win. But I will never put myself in the category of someone like that or even remotely close."
Over the course of his 18-year career, Rogers has recorded only two scoreless streaks longer than his current postseason span: 39 innings in 1995 and 31 in 2005.
So the question has to be asked. What the heck is up with Kenny Rogers? Well we may have apparently found the answer. Television cameras showed something brown on the palm of Rogers' hand in the first inning. After the game, Rogers said it was a combination of dirt and resin, mostly from rubbing baseballs. By the time he came out for the second inning, the dirt was gone, wiped off, according to Rogers.
Now the story gets even juicier because photos have surfaced that show Rogers pitching in the ALCS with the same "combination of dirt and resin" on the palm of his hand.
Coincidence? I think not. You don't go from being a playoff stiff your entire career to Sandy Koufax over night. Something is up and it appears Rogers is getting an edge with pine tar on his palm.
Is there anyone in baseball not cheating in one way or another at this point?
Why St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa did not call Rogers on this is beyond me. If he had a chance to get Rogers out of the game, and maybe even the rest of the series, I'm not sure why he wouldn't have investigated it further. At the very least it might have rattled Rogers.
If it was someone else in the opposing dugout and not Jim Leyland I suspect LaRussa would have acted differently. I guess maintaining friendships is more important than winning a World Series for LaRussa.
I know he "washed" his hand after the first inning, but Rogers is a veteran. He has been around long enough and he knows how to hide something. We have all seen the movie Major League, the old pitcher Eddie Harris had a ton of places on his body to plant something.
What did the top and back of Rogers' hat look like by the way?