"I want to throw the ball down and try to get hitters, that’s all," Perez said. "Using all my pitches and throwing quality pitches. I’ve got a good tempo, and I just wait for my day, do the same every five days and go out there and compete."
That tempo and those pitches down in the zone have Perez putting together a remarkable string. He enters the game with 26 consecutive scoreless innings over his past three starts, the seventh-longest in club history (fifth-longest by a starter). That includes back-to-back complete-game shutouts with three hits or fewer allowed. He's the first Washington or Texas pitcher to do that, and the first in the big leagues since Houston's Roy Oswalt in 2008.
While Yu Darvish has struggled against the A's, Perez has flourished of late. In his past three starts against the Rangers' American League West rival, he's 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA (four earned runs in 22 1/3 innings). His April 23 start was nine innings in 109 pitches. Perez throws strikes and lets his defense work. He had just three strikeouts in Oakland but got some quick outs and stayed in the game.
We'll see if Perez can keep the streak going.
Saving the pen: Don't lose sight of the importance of Nick Martinez to the Rangers' bullpen for the rest of this series. With Darvish lasting just 3 1/3 innings Monday night, Aaron Poreda came in to get the final two outs of the fourth inning, and then it was Martinez to start the fifth. The right-hander stayed out there for the rest of the game. Martinez gave up no runs on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts in five innings of work. In the process, manager Ron Washington has all of his key bullpen arms available to him tonight.
Choice walks: Michael Choice was once again in the leadoff spot Monday for Shin-Soo Choo, who should return Tuesday night. Choice said his approach doesn't change, but he's shown some patience in that role since Choo left in the seventh inning of the April 21 victory in Oakland with the sprained ankle. Choice walked to lead off the Texas first inning Monday, though he was forced out on Elvis Andrus' ground ball shortly thereafter. Choice has walked six times in his six games as the leadoff hitter. He walked three times in his previous 31 plate appearances.