Banister confident Perez can turn it around

Rangers' No. 3 starter believes he made effective adjustment

Banister confident Perez can turn it around

ANAHEIM -- This was Martin Perez, the Rangers' No. 3 starter, once again struggling in a 7-4 loss to the Angels on Wednesday night.

The Rangers may make a trade for starting pitching before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but they are not going to be able to bring in three new starters to get this turned around.

"I don't think we need to," manager Jeff Banister said.

Which means Banister believes Perez is going to be fine even after allowing seven runs on 10 hits and three walks in six-plus innings.

"Yes I do," Banister said.

The Angels scored four runs in the first inning, including a three-run home run by Jefry Marte. Perez is 0-3 with a 10.91 ERA in his last three starts.

"This is a guy, even after the first inning, goes out there and throws the ball well," Banister said. "He's got great stuff. The thing that he's gotten away from is when you're behind, you have to pitch to the fat part of the plate and that makes it easier.

"I think the kid is going to be fine. He has great stuff. If he can command the ball in the strike zone, he can be brilliant."

Perez left the game encouraged because he thinks he made the right adjustment after the first three innings. Perez discovered he was "flying" open with his right shoulder, a common problem for pitchers trying to overthrow. Pitchers under control with good mechanics keep the shoulder closed and moving straight toward home plate.

"I was pushing the ball inside [to the Angels' right-handed batters]," Perez said. "I was trying to throw my sinker away and it was running inside. I made the adjustment and that's why I think I will be better the next time. We'll see what happens in my next start."

Perez did allow just one run in his last three-plus innings as opposed to six in the first three innings. The big blow was the three-run home run in the first inning by Marte on a 3-0 pitch.

"It's been a challenge for Martin," Banister said. "It seems like it has been one inning in this stretch of games that seems to get away from him. This is a guy that still went deep in the game, kept trying to make pitches and find his rhythm.

"When Martin gets into this type of situation, the rhythm starts to speed up and the tempo starts to speed up. You see the body language. He knows that. It's OK to have emotions, just don't get emotional. Stay focused and stay in control."

The Rangers have lost 14 of their last 18 games and their lead has shrunk to 3 1/2 games over the Astros in the American League West. During that stretch, the Rangers' starters are 1-11 with a 7.61 ERA. This is 10th time in those 18 games that the starter has allowed at least five runs.

For all the Rangers issues in other areas, it still comes down to starting pitching. It has always seemed that way.

"It comes down to starting pitching," Banister said. "If we throw the ball well with our starting pitching, we can be a competitive, lethal ballclub. That's what I believe."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.