Pérez 'happy to be here' after 1 ER, 9 K game
ARLINGTON -- Chris Woodward couldn’t deny that as Tuesday’s Trade Deadline came and went, he was happy Martín Pérez remained a Texas Ranger.
The 31-year-old veteran lefty is having a career year and could have immediately helped a contending team down the stretch, but the front office chose not to deal Pérez due to his value to the team, both on and off the field.
“It’s nice to have [Pérez after the Deadline], especially with Jon Gray going down,” Woodward said prior to Wednesday’s game. “We lost some players the last couple years, probably rightfully so.
“But if we lost Jon Gray [to injury] and then we lost Martín at the same time via trade, that would have been a pretty crushing blow to the team. To have him here means a lot. Obviously this guy, not just what he does on the field. I love every time he goes out there I feel like we're gonna win, but outside the lines, the mentorship he brings. The fact that he’s here is very, very meaningful.”
That much was evident as he took the mound at Globe Life Field on Wednesday afternoon as Pérez did exactly what he’s done all season: keep the Rangers competitive.
The southpaw tossed six innings of one-run ball to log a no-decision in the Rangers’ 6-3 loss to the Orioles. It was Texas’ second sweep of the season at the hands of Baltimore. Pérez got into a couple jams, including loading the bases in the fifth inning, but the lone run he surrendered was a two-out solo homer from Ryan McKenna in the second inning.
“It was typical Martín today,” Woodward said. “He had a bunch of punchouts today. He got out of that last inning jam. I thought he was great. Obviously he kept us in there. I thought we were gonna take the lead for him there in the bottom of the sixth, but they made a nice play to end that inning. I can't say enough about Martín. He gives us a chance every time he goes out there.”
With Pérez making his 19th consecutive start without a loss, he tied Cole Hamels' franchise record (2015-16). His nine strikeouts also ties his season and career high as he lowered his season ERA from 2.52 to 2.47.
He also recorded 15 whiffs, eight of which came on his changeup.
“It was a good game,” Pérez said. “There was one bad pitch, he got me with the cutter away [on the McKenna home run]. I was throwing the pitches that I wanted and the fastball was moving really good. My changeups were working pretty good, they’re not hitting it hard.”
Pérez, for what it’s worth, said he’s definitely happy to still be in Texas, but he wasn’t thinking too much about the possibility of being traded as the clock was ticking down to the Deadline.
While he’s been open about his desire to stay with the club and potentially sign an extension in the coming months, Pérez was focused on pitching, whether in Arlington or elsewhere.
“I was just trying to focus for today and do my job,” Pérez said. “That’s one thing I can control. I'm happy to be here, again, but at the same time, I was focused on today and trying to do my best performance for the team and try to get a win. I have the same mentality no matter what.
“At the end of the day, you just gotta go out there and do your job no matter what. It feels good when they didn’t trade me and I [get to] stay here. I’m just trying to continue to do my best performance for this team.”