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Perez Turns In Another Gem

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Perez Turns In Another Gem

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OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 23: Martin Perez #33 and Robinson Chirinos #61 of the Texas Rangers celebrates defeating the Oakland Athletics 3-0 at O.co Coliseum on April 23, 2014 in Oakland, California. Perez pitched a complete game shutout.

Remember back in January when we were all freaking out because the Texas Rangers lost their No. 2 starter until mid-summer after Derek Holland fell down some stairs? We certainly do. Turns out, the Rangers have a No. 2 starter who's perfectly healthy, and his name is Martin Perez.

It's still baffling in hindsight that Perez didn't draw the Opening Day start instead of Tanner Scheppers because of the fear he wouldn't be able to handle the pressure, because all Perez has done this year is show poise and wisdom far beyond his 23 years of age.

On Wednesday afternoon with his team's foot on their biggest rival's collective throat, Perez pressed harder and choked the life out of the formerly division-leading A's while tossing his second straight complete-game shutout and extending his scoreless innings streak to 26 innings.

Perez isn't doing it with sexy numbers. In fact, on Wednesday he struck out just three batters, but for the second straight outing he needed just 109 pitches to get 27 outs. That's a ridiculously efficient total for a guy who leads the world in groundball outs as well as double plays induced. He's also yet to allow a home run this season.

Perez is understanding that his fireballing, high-strikeout ways he resorted to in the minor leagues won't work for him, and he's adjusted. The results are staggering.

Yes, we're only five starts in, but so far this season, Perez, who just turned 23 earlier this month after he'd signed a long-term, extremely club-friendly extension, is setting the baseball world on fire. He's now 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA and his last three starts have totaled eight, nine and nine innings, respectively. All have been scoreless.

So yeah, Rangers fans, your No. 2 starter should be back by June or July, but will he still be the No. 2 starter? Yeah? Great. No? Equally great.

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