In Arlington Sunday night on National Television, Martin Perez and the Texas Rangers faced off against the Phillies for game three of their opening weekend series. Fans had already witnessed Jacob deGrom and Nathan Evoldi pitch.

Perez was far and away the Rangers best arm in 2022, and it would  be unexpected if he was again in 2023 with the additions the team has made. He tried to make his case for just that Sunday.

The Numbers

Perez allowed just one run through 5.2 innings, striking out 7. He begins 2023 with a 1.59 ERA after his initial start.

Since returning to the Rangers, Perez made 17 starts at Globe Life Field. He has allowed 1 or fewer runs in 11 of those starts (per Evan Grant).

Martin has been a very different pitcher since his return in 2022 to the Rangers roster. For those that remember, he used to be visibly frustrated on the mound if he got in a jam.

Perez would lose command and his emotions would get the best of him. He was hard to watch honestly when he got mad.

Not the new Martin Perez. Faced with a jam and a run already across on Sunday, he pitched beautifully and got out of the jam easily. He worked out of several jams without much issue at all.

While deGrom and Evoldi didn’t pitch poorly, they were outpitched by Perez. With Jon Gray and Andrew Heaney still to go, it wouldn’t be a shock if he has the lowest ERA the first time through the Rotation.

A Look Ahead

Perez just looks comfortable on the mound. He even looked more comfortable Sunday than he did last season.

Rangers fans are in for a treat if he can come close to repeating his 2022 campaign. And to think, he is the Rangers number 3 starter.

Command and control are what Perez is bringing to the mound. He and the bullpen allowed 1 run total.

The difference of having a manager like Bruce Bochy in the dugout is evident. His decision making has been really good so far.

Not a surprise coming from a 3-time World Series Champion. Bochy is big on pitching, and he has been given a team with some great pitching.

The question remains, will Perez be able to repeat his “magic” from 2022? He will be if it was hard work and not magic.

Watching him on Sunday tells me it is more of the ladder than the former. Perez is comfortable with who he is and what he throws.

Watch Out

Martin Perez could well be the Rangers ace in 2023, despite deGrom and Evoldi being on the roster. If he is, he will receive quite a pay day.

All things being equal, a sub 2 ERA Perez probably means the Rangers are competing for the division in September, even if they don’t win it.

That is something that Texas Rangers fans have not seen in many years. Many people, including manager Bruce Bochy, believe pitching is the key to winning championships.

When the teams number 3 starter could be the ace on half the teams in the majors, I’d say pitching is in a pretty good place. While I’m not ready to declare them AL West Champions after 3 games, I am more encouraged that I believed I would be.

Martin Perez is one of the main reasons I feel that way.

 

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