Texas Rangers starter Martin Perez was one of MLB’s top pitchers through the first month of the season with a 2.41 ERA over six starts.
In May, though, Perez has an 11.42 ERA over two starts and is searching for answers.
Perez (4-1, 4.25 ERA this season) will be looking to regain his early form as the Rangers open a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies on Friday night at Arlington, Texas. It is a return to the matchup of teams that played the first regular-season game at Globe Life Field in 2020.
The left-hander will try to repeat the effective he had on the road against the Rockies last Aug. 24, with six scoreless innings in what became a 16-4 victory for the Rangers. In five career starts vs. Colorado, Perez is 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA.
Rockies right-hander Karl Kauffmann is expected to make his major league debut. Kauffmann is 2-3 with a 7.78 ERA at Triple A Albuquerque, and in his previous start at Las Vegas on May 10, he allowed two runs with no walks and five strikeouts over six innings.
When he was effective during the spring, Kauffmann used his sinker effectively and worked the entire strike zone. More of the same will be needed in order to quiet a Rangers lineup that has only added to its scoring potential.
Texas just received a boost by activating shortstop Corey Seager off the injured list earlier this week. While Seager works into his form, Adolis Garcia is swinging the bat well with a pair of solo home runs in the Rangers’ 6-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
For Texas, though, the biggest concern is the bullpen. The Rangers blew a two-run lead late in Wednesday’s game. On the season, the Rangers have allowed 73 runs from the seventh inning on, according to mlb.com.
“We’re trying to get it right down there,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said after Wednesday’s loss. “We were mixing it up a little bit, but the long ball hurt us this series, there’s no getting around it. But we’ve just got to get this thing figured out in the bullpen.
“It’s not fun to be part of, I will be honest. I can tell you from (the players’) side, too.”
Over the course of the three-game series, the Braves hit 10 home runs. Facing the Rockies, though, the home-run ball is not as much of a threat.
Colorado ranks 26th in MLB with a total of 37 home runs this season. While the long ball has been a talking point in the clubhouse recently, it’s not something the team is overly concerned about. Instead, the Rockies just want to score runs however they come.
“Hitting home runs is fun and everything, but if you can hit line drives up the middle when there are runners in scoring position while at the same time having a threat of going over the fence, that’s good,” the Rockies’ Kris Bryant said. “We’ve really tightened it up since the beginning of the year offensively.”
Among the highlights on the offensive side has been Jurickson Profar, who started his career with the Rangers. Profar memorably homered in his first MLB at-bat with the Rangers back in 2012. Now with the Rockies, he is riding a career-best 27-game on-base streak into Friday’s series opener.
“I still think there’s more in there,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of Profar.
–Field Level Media
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