We've heard a lot lately about "make baseball fun again" and bat flips and punches, and every time you hear a pitcher complain about being shown up after a home run, one of the first retorts is considering when they are animated after a big strikeout.
On Tuesday night, we saw that raw emotion firsthand in Arlington from a guy who is known to wear his emotions on his sleeve — sometimes to a fault.
After cruising through five innings thanks to his top weapon — the double play — Martin Perez ran into some trouble in the sixth and had runners on first and third with no outs and the 2-3-4 hitters in the Angels lineup coming up.
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It was the type of situation that so often goes sour for the 25-year-old lefty, but this time was different.
It all started when Kole Calhoun lined a grounder to Mitch Moreland, who fired home to cut down a run with the Rangers clinging to a 1-0 lead, leaving runners at first and second. One out.
Perez then froze all-world Mike Trout on a called third strike. Two outs. He clearly pitched around Albert Pujols, putting the slow-footed veteran on first with four pitches and then blew Johnny Giavotella away with a 95-mph fastball — the far upper register of Perez's fastball velocity — to end the inning and with it came a primal scream and hunched over fist pump on the mound.
His night with a final line of six scoreless innings, five hits, two walks and six strikeouts. His night ended after his ERA was lowered to 3.13, furthering the Rangers rotation's lead on the pack for the best ERA in the American League.
It was a huge development for Perez, who has let singular big innings plague him in otherwise strong outings.
"Probably as calm as we've seen him in those situations all year long," Rangers manager Jeff Banister told reporters.
Hopefully for the Rangers and Perez, it's a sign of things to come.