Angels’ Ramirez faces Rangers’ Perez in series finale

ARLINGTON, Texas — Los Angeles Angels right-hander JC Ramirez (2-2, 4.43 ERA) appears to have found his groove after three turns in the rotation for the Angels.

Texas left-hander Martin Perez (1-3, 3.81 ERA) is still looking to find his.

The two square off Sunday when the Angels and Rangers play the rubber game of their three-game series at Globe Life Park.

Ramirez started the season in the bullpen before getting his first start April 14. He allowed five earned runs in that start, but followed it up by allowing three in his next start. In his last outing against Oakland, Ramirez allowed just two hits in seven innings in a 2-1 win over Oakland. Ramirez struck out seven in that start and will have a hard time topping that start Sunday.

That doesn’t mean Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t think it can’t happen.

“He keeps progressing,” Scioscia said. “The start before he got on board and finished strong. So I think what we’re seeing from JC is hopefully the evolution of a guy that is getting comfortable with that role, getting comfortable in getting into the 90- to 100-pitch count. He really was impressive in that last game.”

If his history against Texas is any indication, Ramirez could be in for another good start Sunday. In seven relief appearances against the Rangers Ramirez is 1-1 with a 1.13 ERA.

Perez has decent career numbers against the Angels, going 2-3 with a 3.23 ERA in nine appearances. But Perez hasn’t been able to put together a really strong start yet this year for Texas. He allowed just three runs in six innings in his last start, but after four great innings to start the game he allowed three in the fifth as the Rangers lost to Minnesota 3-2.

Perez believes he is trying to do too much with every pitch. It’s not a recipe for success for him.

“Sometimes as a pitcher you can throw every pitch 100 percent,” Perez said. “Sometimes you have to back up and throw like a BP fastball. Let’s see how good I am and I know that I’m good so that’s what I need. Sometimes you go 110 pitches 100 percent and you can throw seven innings or eight. If you try less and you throw that pitch 100 percent when you need it it’s going to be a difference.”

Putting maximum effort into each pitch is one of the reasons Perez thinks he has only totaled 26 innings pitched in his five starts. If he dials things back a little, he thinks he’ll be able to pitch deeper into games.

Texas manager Jeff Banister likes that line of thinking.

“Every time he pitches we talk about that,” Banister said. “It’s managing your effort in the pitch. It’s not gas pedal. Gas pedal down is effort on every single pitch. Throw everything with maximum effort. That’s what he’s talking about. Maximum effort makes everything flatten out. There’s not enough separation and you don’t have as much control.”