ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 26: Martin Perez #33 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 26, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
After going through some serious offensive doldrums and falling behind the Oakland A's by as many as six games in the AL West, the Texas Rangers went on a tear last week.
Now, it's up to 22-year-old lefty Martin Perez to keep that momentum going on Monday night as the Rangers open a three-game road series against the Los Angeles Angels, who the Rangers swept at home last week to start a streak in which they won five of six to pull within 2 1/2 games of Oakland after Sunday's win over the A's.
Perez was phenomenal and efficient in last outing, also against the Angels, when he tossed a career-high 7 1/3 innings and allowed just one run on four hits — a solo homer to Josh Hamilton.
Perez, when he's on, uses his change-up to baffle hitters and keep them off-balance, allowing him to induce plenty of groundball outs and work through innings with ease. In that last outing, he navigated through three innings with a single-digit pitch count.
The Rangers really need to keep their momentum going to try to build more in the post-Nelson Cruz era that will encompass these last 50 games of the regular season, and as the old saying goes "momentum is the next game's starting pitcher." Well, it's up to Perez to come through on that idea.