Pérez's suberb season continues with another quality start

Veteran left-hander has expressed desire to return to Rangers next year

September 29th, 2022

SEATTLE – It’s hard to say what the future might hold for the Rangers when it comes to .

The team does know that right now it's enjoying what it's getting out of the veteran left-hander, who continued his special season Wednesday night by turning in yet another quality start in a 3-1 loss to the Mariners in T-Mobile Park.

While 2022 has hardly been a banner year for the Rangers, it’s definitely been one for Pérez.

And despite taking another one in the loss column and falling to 12-7, his 31st start of the season was very similar to a lot of his others: He went seven innings, he gave up three runs on five hits, he struck out three and walked three, and he kept Seattle in the yard while keeping Texas in the game.

It goes down as a quality start in the books, and the 31-year-old has achieved that accomplishment in four of his last five starts, seven of his last nine, and 10 of his last 13. His season ERA is 2.93, which would qualify as the lowest by a Rangers starter since Yu Darvish in 2013 (2.83). He’s one win away from tying his career high of 13 in a season, which he did with the Rangers in 2017.

“It was a great start,” Rangers interim manager Tony Beasley said. “He really battled and competed tonight.

“He just kind of got on a roll and he kept going and gave us seven strong innings, gave us a chance to win the ballgame. So I thought it was an outstanding start from him, and he battled and competed. It was unfortunate that we couldn't muster enough on offense to get a victory tonight.”

Pérez’s name was rightfully mentioned quite a bit in the July days leading up to the Trade Deadline, but he stayed in Texas and expressed a desire to stay long-term with the Rangers, the organization where he spent the first 11 years of his professional career. If that happens, it will likely come at a much higher price point than the $4 million Texas signed him for prior to this year.

He notched his first All-Star Game selection this season and has reached career highs in quality starts (22) and strikeouts (167). He hasn’t allowed a home run in his last 42 1/3 innings, a span of seven starts.

“I'm better this year, and I believe that I'm going to be better next year,” Pérez said. “I know how to pitch, and I know how to control my emotions. I’m just trying to enjoy [the rest of] my season this year.”

Unfortunately for the southpaw, the Rangers didn’t do enough against Mariners pitching to get him win No. 13 and give him a shot at No. 14 in his next start, which will likely be his last of this banner year.

Texas got off to a good start in the first inning when Nathaniel Lowe continued his torrid hitting with a one-out double off Seattle starter George Kirby and then scored two batters later on an RBI single by rookie third baseman Josh Jung, who was coming off a Tuesday-night performance in which he drove in all five of the Rangers’ runs in a 5-0 victory.

The Mariners answered right back, however, scoring two runs on the strength of an RBI double by Eugenio Suárez and a sacrifice fly by Mitch Haniger.

Pérez was not particularly sharp in that inning, walking two batters, but he settled in after that and gave up only one more run -- on an RBI groundout by Carlos Santana in the third -- the rest of the way. From the fourth through seventh innings, he faced the minimum number of batters, giving up only one hit and getting outs via ground balls.

“I've been doing it for a year and I'm not going to give up on my last two, so I was going to give my all in this one and I will against the Yankees [next week], too,” Pérez said. “Tonight was not easy, but I just worked with a lot of passion and threw my pitches.”

But the Rangers just couldn’t solve Kirby’s pitches. The rookie went six innings and gave up only three singles after the first inning while striking out four. Relievers Erik Swanson (perfect seventh, one strikeout), Andres Muñoz (perfect eighth, two strikeouts) and Paul Sewald (perfect ninth) finished off Texas, getting Seattle one game closer to its first postseason berth in 21 years.

The Rangers, meanwhile, are eight games away from the beginning of decision-making time, and it remains to be seen what happens with Pérez.

“I think everybody would love to see him back here,” Beasley said. “We’'ll see how the process works out and how it goes. But Martin Pérez has been consistent all year. He's been a mainstay for us and the rotation all year long and he's taken the ball every turn and given us quality start after quality start.

“So we definitely would love for him to be back next year with us.”