Perez certainly isn't the same pitcher who had a 26-inning scoreless streak before this sudden downturn started April 29 at Oakland. The left-hander allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings Saturday, and he has allowed 19 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings in his last three starts for a 12.82 ERA.
There's not any one area where Perez isn't getting beat. He allowed 27 hits and 12 walks during this stretch, and he retired nine of the 23 Red Sox he faced. He's not panicking.
"I'm good," Perez said. "I'm the same guy. I'm going to keep working hard every day. That's how you learn. Better days are coming."
The consensus among the Rangers, from manager Ron Washington to pitching coach Mike Maddux, is that Perez is getting overexcited on the mound. Maddux made visits to the mound twice in the early innings to try to calm down Perez. Getting overexcited is something that Perez, 23, has dealt with going back to the Minor Leagues, and at times he's been able to harness it -- see his consecutive shutouts against the White Sox and Athletics in April.
It's just not happening of late, and thus the mound visits.
"Mike was telling him to slow his mind down," Washington said. "He told him to relax and concentrate on executing his pitches."
Perez heard the message but couldn't rein it in. He was erratic from the outset against Boston.
The Red Sox had two baserunners in the first inning but didn't score. They loaded the bases with two outs in the second -- even after David Ross was caught stealing -- as Will Middlebrooks singled, Jackie Bradley Jr. was hit by a pitch and Dustin Pedroia walked. Shane Victorino drove in the first run of the game with a single to center field, and it could have been worse, but Leonys Martin threw out Bradley at the plate to end the inning.
David Ortiz, who moaned about having a hit taken away from him during Yu Darvish's no-hit bid Friday night, gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead in the top of the third with a leadoff home run to right field. It was Ortiz's 438th career home run, tying him for 40th on the all-time list with Andre Dawson and Jason Giambi.
Boston broke it open against Perez in the fourth, ending his night in the process. Bradley had a leadoff single and went to third on Pedroia's single (who also moved up a base on the throw). Victorino then gave Boston a 4-0 lead with a two-run single to right field. After Ortiz doubled, Mike Napoli struck out on what was a beauty of a changeup by Perez. But just after making a great pitch, Jonny Gomes delivered a two-run single, and that was it for Perez.
The Rangers slowly started cutting into the deficit in the fourth inning against Jon Lester, who retired the first nine batters he faced. Prince Fielder had a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Shin-Soo Choo, who had led off the inning with a double to end Lester's perfect start. Alex Rios plated Fielder when he lined a triple over the head of Bradley, who took a poor angle from center field on the play.
Elvis Andrus cut Boston's lead to 6-3 in the fifth with a two-out RBI double. Andrus has six hits in two games after a sluggish start to the season.
Boston extended the lead to 8-3 against reliever Justin Germano on Pedroia's RBI single and Victorino's sacrifice fly.
"It was good to see some base hits with runners in scoring position," Boston manager John Farrell said. "It's been a few days since we've been able to put up the number of runs we did today."
Farrell also noted that the Red Sox saw a number of pitching sequences, and that may have helped them wear down Perez, who threw 86 pitches.
Perez isn't feeling fatigue from the two complete games, he insisted after the game. It's more about execution. He struggled to throw his changeup for strikes. He also wasn't getting the low-strike call from home-plate umpire Bill Miller.
This was interesting because Lester punched out eight Rangers, six of them looking, most of them on fastballs at the knees. Several Rangers, from Choo to Martin, made it clear they were displeased. Maddux was ejected in the eighth inning, for arguing balls and strikes, Washington said.
As for Perez, he'll focus on working on slowing the game down before his next start Friday against Toronto.
"That's the first thing he had to work on in the Minor Leagues," Chirinos said. "He gets too excited, too worked up and gets to overthrowing. It's something he's working on. I know he'll get back to the pitcher we saw at the beginning of the season."