Texas Rangers vs Tampa Bay Rays Impression #2
This is a hard one for me because I really like Martin Perez, but if the Rangers play the Rays in the ALCS I do not know if Perez should be on the roster. He is a pitcher that lives on the fringes of the strike zone. He relies on umps to give him a wide zone. He tries to induce weak contact and force hitters to roll over on pitches. He thrives when teams chase his pitches outside the strike zone. The Rays though are a very high contact rate team, they do not chase very often, and they have no problem taking walks.
Tampa yesterday just beat around Perez in his 3 1/3 innings. They had 10 hits, seven runs, they worked three walks, and he only had two strikeouts. What the Rays did is force Perez to pitch in the strike zone. They did a fantastic job laying off pitches out of the strike zone or fouling it off. They only swung and missed at five of his 75 pitches. They fouled off nine of his 75 pitches. They hit seven balls that registered as hard contact.
Perez had success against Tampa in 2022. The farther we get away from last season the more it looks like it was the outlier that fans feared it was. His numbers are regressing back to his form prior to 2022. He has already given up 11 home runs this season the total he gave up in the entire 2022 season. His hits per nine is up at 11. His ERA at 4.67 is closer to his career ERA of 4.45, and his FIP of 4.90 is back in line with what it was from 2017-2021.
Perez should remain in the rotation. His record is still 6-2 and he still has more good starts than bad starts. I just think that in a playoff series against the Rays, it does not serve him or the team well to have him on the roster either in the rotation or bullpen against this team.