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)
There's been plenty of second-guessing as to why Ron Washington chose to make Tanner Scheppers his Opening Day starter instead of second-year pitcher Martin Perez after Yu Darvish was ruled out last week with neck stiffness.
The questions are very valid. Scheppers had never made a start in the bigs, while Perez tied for the rookie lead with wins last year and pitched in some big games of his own, including the AL Wild Card tiebreaker against David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays.
But the past is the past. The Rangers lost 14-10 on Monday, and there's nothing that can be done about that. Perez has a chance on Tuesday to make his season debut, probably a day late, and he's hoping to build off a breakout year in 2013.
Another thing he hopes to do? Pitch aggressively, something the Rangers saw far too little of on Monday as Scheppers walked three batters and gave up seven two-out runs, and the bullpen was worse.
"I have to attack the zone," Perez told ESPN Dallas. "That's what didn't happen today. I need to go out and pitch with conviction and hit my spots. That means attacking hitters."
Last season, Perez went 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA while walking just 37 batters in 124 1/3 innings that spanned 20 starts.