A couple roster moves got Twins prospect Taylor Rogers out of sync before his last start. Back on a more regular and steady routine this week, he turned in one of the finest outings of his career.
Rogers allowed one hit and two walks while striking out eight batters in his first career nine-inning complete-game shutout as Class A Advanced Fort Myers edged Dunedin Blue Jays, 1-0, on Thursday.
"Leading up to the last game was a different situation for me," said Rogers, who threw 102 pitches. "We shook up the rotation a little bit. Kyle Davies came in and we had some roster spots that we needed open, so it was hectic with the numbers. I think I went 10 days between starts.
"I was a lot more prepared tonight. I got to watch [Dunedin] hit the night before, and I think that helped a lot. That's part of the growing process. Some people think charting is tedious and unimportant, but in the long run, it helps you pay attention to the game."
Selected by Minnesota in the 11th round of the 2012 Draft out of the University of Kentucky, Rogers set down the first 11 batters he faced and the final 10 Blue Jays of the game.
The 6-foot-3 left-hander rolled 13 ground-ball outs and faced three over the minimum. The outing lowered his ERA to 2.61. In 14 Florida State League games this year, Rogers has struck out 45 batters over 79 1/3 innings.
"I think it was pretty good with the results," added Rogers. "I felt good about everything and I was happy about repeating pitches. This is definitely up there. This whole season ranks up there.
"The team is great. [Manager] Doug [Mientkiewicz] runs a great ship and lets us be aggressive up there. He gives us a lot of confidence because he's not that far removed from baseball, so he can really compare what we are doing."
The lone hit against the 22-year-old Colorado native came in the bottom of the sixth frame when Peter Mooney doubled to right field with two outs.
"It was a good piece of hitting," Rogers said of Mooney's two-base hit. "It was a left-on-left curveball and he stayed on it. I was behind in the count and I didn't put myself in a good position, but I tip my cap to him.
"The natural human emotion will tell you [to want to have that pitch back], but baseball is a funny game and you can't hold on to things like that."
In two starts against the Blue Jays this year, Rogers is 2-0 with an unblemished ERA, having struck out 16 batters and allowed six hits over 16 innings.
Most of his successes this season have been predicated on fastball control. Thursday was no different.
"I threw a lot of fastballs and I was able to get both sides of the plate with that," Rogers said. "My curveball was a pretty good out pitch, but I didn't really need to throw my change-up. I was able to throw the curveball first pitch for strikes and keep them off balance. I didn't need to throw the change-up because the other two pitches were working.
"I should probably throw [the change-up] more often. It's good in the bullpen, but I need to trust it more and have confidence in it in games. At some point, the game will come knocking and tell me I need to throw that pitch more."
Rehabbing Dunedin starter J.A. Happ fanned seven batters over five three-hit innings, but he did not factor in the decision. Aaron Sanchez (2-4) allowed one run on a pair of hits and two walks over four innings for the loss.