Perez’s debut in relief had it all. He gave up four runs but only one was earned. He also got tackled by Prince Fielder and earned his first major league strikeout.
Perez has always been near the top of the Rangers top prospect list since he became a member of the organization has lost a little of the luster he had. He went from top of the rotation potential to somewhat of a more subdued projection but one thing has not been changed: Perez has talent and at 21 years old is still so, so young even though it feels like he has been around for years.
I mentioned this when I was talking about Grimm starting in the series preview and it is perhaps even more of a point with Perez starting: Oakland is not the league’s best offense. They are a good litmus test for a young starting pitcher who has not pitched against the world’s best hitters on the world’s biggest stage. Oakland can put up runs and it will not be easy – don’t get me wrong but there are a lot bigger potential challenges than this Athletics roster and there is no reason to put Perez against those lineups. Grimm got his start against the Astros and did well, against the Tigers he did not do as well. Perez has pitched in AAA so this isn’t the same kind of situation, but if Perez can get it together, that would make three pretty darn good left handed pitchers (with tonight’s starter Matt Harrison and the injured Derek Holland) going forward with Yu Darvish, Roy Oswalt and Colby Lewis.
Not to be lost in this is the fact that Perez will be facing off against Tommy Milone who has been one of the more pleasant surprises in the Athletics rotation. He may not be able to struggle and pick up a win like Grimm did in his debut, but it will be fun to see the prospect we all came to love get his first Major League start – and hopefully the wrinkles that occurred in his first start are ironed out.