As the Texas Rangers begin a three-game set against the A's in Oakland on Tuesday night, they're looking at a lead in the AL West that has dwindled from 2 1/2 games to one game in a matter of days, and one slip up could have them in a tie for first by Tuesday.
That's a pretty big pressure situation, and while they don't have Cole Hamels going on Tuesday night, the pitcher the Rangers are running out to the mound might be the next best option, at least if history tells us anything.
Perez has been inconsistent since returning early this summer from a 14-month layoff after Tommy John surgery, which is to be expected for a rehabbing Tommy John patient. But in Oakland, over the course of his career, he's been pretty dang good.
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In his three career starts in the pitcher-friendly park, Perez is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA and has a complete-game shutout under his belt. He also has big-game experience on his side having pitched in the Game 163 tiebreaker against David Price in 2013 — a loss, but a decent outing. Then, just last week, he outpitched Cy Young favorite Dallas Keuchel and put together a nice night against the Astros.
Now, the Rangers need him to be good against the last-place A's, a team with which the Rangers have won just six of 16 meetings so far this year. There isn't anywhere he would be more comfortable in that situation, and now Perez has to be sure history repeats itself.