The Texas Rangers are now two games back in the AL West race with Oakland set to face Minnesota for three games beginning Tuesday. After Monday night's 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh, the Rangers are hoping to bounce back and still have a shot to win the series against the NL Central contenders on Tuesday.
If the Rangers are going to win Tuesday, they'll have to score more than, well, zero runs against Francisco Liriano, and they'll need another strong performance from 22-year-old rookie lefty Martin Perez, who is coming off winning AL Rookie of the Month honors for August.
Perez is 6-0 with a 2.54 ERA in his last six starts and has helped keep the Rangers from completely falling apart during a recent rough stretch. Their one win in Oakland last weekend, that was when Perez was on the hill. He's simply been their best pitcher over the past month, and they'll look for him to duplicate that again on Tuesday night.
"He's handled himself admirably for a young kid," manager Ron Washington told reporters. "To go out there and take the ball and stay under control and do what he can do, he's done a great job. I'm just enjoying what he's doing."
Perez has pushed himself to the forefront of the AL Rookie of the Year talk, as he leads all rookies in wins and could get No. 10 on Tuesday against Pittsburgh. He's also pushing himself up the ladder in terms of a possible postseason pitching rotation. Another big start on Tuesday against a good team could mean big things down the road for the youngster.