A quick, superficial look at Martin Perez's starts this year would reveal a starting pitcher who has been pretty top notch.
Perez hasn't allowed more than two earned runs but in three of his 11 starts this year and the run totals in those three were three, four and five. Everything else has been two or one and there were a couple of zeroes mixed in for good measure.
But a deeper look reveals a pitcher who was teetering on the brink of disaster in most of those starts with high pitch counts and a league-leading walk total that he was able to hide with his league-leading 17 induced double plays.
The last two starts for Perez, however, have been downright encouraging, and on Sunday against a really good Pirates lineup, he did something he hadn't done all year — he walked just one batter.
It's a big step for the 25-year-old lefty, who was pumping fastballs at 95 and 96 mph late in his six-inning outing which saw him yield two runs. That was after a start against the Angels when he allowed no runs in six innings. The key difference in those two starts was that when he got in trouble, he was able to get out of trouble with big strikeouts instead of having to rely on a guy making contact and hitting it to a fielder instead of into a hole.
Perez gave us a familiar scene on Sunday when he got a big strikeout to end an inning that followed by an emphatic fist pump and primal scream, which he also did in his previous start against the Angels.
I'm not sure where this version of Perez came from, but it's starting to resemble the pre-Tommy John Perez that looked to be a budding superstar, and I like it.