ARLINGTON, Texas -- Something going to have to give Saturday when Kansas City's Ian Kennedy matches up against Texas' Martin Perez.
Both pitchers are having months they'd rather forget as their teams have struggled to the month. At least they have that in common.
Kennedy, the subject of trade rumors, is 0-3 in July and 6.9 with a 4.41 ERA in a disappointing season for the right-hander. At least Perez (7-7) knows how Kennedy is feeling. Like Kennedy, Perez has suffered through a 0-3 July and has seen his ERA jump from 3.39 to 4.38 over his last four starts.
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While Kennedy may be pitching for his rotation spot and a chance to impress a possible trade partner, Perez is just trying to get back on track after having a stretch in which he went 6-0 over eight starts from May 24 until July 1.
Saturday he'll have a chance to give their Rangers three-consecutive wins from the rotation for the first time since he was part of a four-game rotation winning streak June 14-17.
He knows what has to happen.
"I need to be more aggressive," said Perez, who allowed five runs (three earned) in his last start. "My curveball is back. I need to try and get hitters early and start being aggressive early in the game. I need to make the hitters uncomfortable."
Even though Perez is struggling this month, he has reached some milestones. Saturday's start will be his 22nd of the season, two more than he's made in any other year. He's also thrown 125 1/3 innings, a new career high. He pitched 124 1/3 in 2013.
Perez is also still tied for second on the team in quality starts with 13 in his first full season back since having Tommy John surgery in 2014. He knows how important going deep into games is for a rotation that's struggled.
"Last year I was coming back and I didn't throw that many innings," Perez said. "This year I need to stay healthy because they believe in me, and I think it's my job to help this team win games and try to go long in the games."
Adding to Kennedy's struggles is the fact that his name continues to pop up in trade rumors. He's trying not to pay attention to that and focus on his job.
"Man I just got here," said Kennedy, who signed a five-year deal with the Royals in the offseason. "I didn't hear that one (trade rumor). I did see my face on TV once, but I didn't hear what they said."
Trade talk is nothing new for Kennedy. He was traded in 2009 as part of a three-team deal and then dealt again in 2013 from Arizona to San Diego.
He knows trade talk goes with the territory, especially at this time of the year.
"It's kind of nothing," he said. "It's part of the business, now especially because there are so many prospects that are really good that teams want."