So far this season, when the Texas Rangers have needed a big start to stop the proverbial bleeding of a losing streak, they've called upon Matt Harrison or Yu Darvish, and they've both delivered on multiple occasions.
Harrison delivered once again on Thursday, but his bats didn't, and the Rangers' losing streak was stretched to four games, matching a season high. Now, they'll try to avoid a season-long losing skid and they'll rely on a rookie making his second big-league start to get the job done.
Martin Perez, who's arguably the Rangers' top prospect with the exception of middle infielder Jurickson Profar, will make his second start Friday night against the Minnesota Twins and lefty Francisco Liriano. Perez had a solid starting debut against the Oakland A's, when he went 5 2/3 innings and gave up two runs last Saturday, striking out five and walking one en route to his first big-league victory. That was after he got pounded in a relief appearance (his first big-league appearance) three days earlier against the Detroit Tigers.
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Perez could be well on the way to making a case he should be the emergency plan in the event of any more injuries this year once the Rangers' rotation gets back to full strength. And even moreso making a case to be in the starting rotation when the 2013 season begins and Colby Lewis is likely gone.
But he also will be spotlighting for potential trades. It would take a huge return for the Rangers to deal Perez, and they likely wouldn't do it for a rent-a-player like Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels, but there's no saying he wouldn't be traded at all.
A nice performance Friday against the Twins would be good in more ways than one.