Martin Perez has been a model of consistency on the mound during his first full major league season with the Texas Rangers.
Scott Kazmir has fared pretty well himself for the Oakland Athletics.
In the midst of a 26-inning scoreless stretch, Perez looks to become the AL’s first five-game winner while Kazmir also tries to remain undefeated Tuesday night.
Perez (4-0, 1.42 ERA) allowed three of his four runs in the seventh inning of a 10-7 win at Boston on April 8, then went the next three starts without giving one up. The left-hander has recorded two straight three-hitters, the latest during Wednesday’s 3-0 victory in which he improved to 3-3 with a 4.18 ERA against the A’s.
"He knows how to pitch," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He has weapons and he can throw them all for strikes and he has poise. He does a great job of staying with the game plan and that’s something that he’s learned from last year (when he went 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA in 20 starts), how to study, how to go out there and just execute his pitches."
The first Ranger to record three straight scoreless starts since Kenny Rogers had four over 30 innings April 27-May 14, 2005, Perez is only concerned with the moment.
"I don’t want to think too much about my ERA and the games that I’ve thrown before," said Perez, who can become the first major leaguer to make four straight scoreless starts since Ryan Dempster did it for the Chicago Cubs over five consecutive June 5-July 14, 2012.
Off to the best start of his lengthy career, Kazmir (3-0, 1.62) didn’t face the Rangers last week and is 0-3 with a 5.87 ERA in four starts against them after going 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA in his first 10 matchups.
The left-hander, who has recorded two scoreless starts this season, allowed a run in six innings of a 10-1 win in his native Houston on Thursday.
"It’s important to be able to have that foundation early in the year and be able to kind of build on it throughout every start," Kazmir told the Athletics’ official website.
"I’m kind of in and out on how I feel stuff-wise, but just to stay within myself and make the adjustments as the game goes on is big for me."
Kazmir has a tough act to follow after Sonny Gray’s three-hitter in Monday’s 4-0 victory over the Rangers (15-11). Josh Reddick had three hits and Josh Donaldson drove in two runs as the A’s (16-10) won their fourth straight in Texas after being swept at home by the Rangers last week.
Donaldson has reached base safely in 21 straight games and is batting .435 (10 for 23) with eight RBIs in his last seven at Texas. He’s 4 for 10 with a home run and two doubles against Perez.
Texas’ Alex Rios is batting .400 (18 for 45) in his last 11 games. He’s hitting .333 in his past 15 against Oakland but .209 (9 for 43) with 11 strikeouts versus Kazmir.
Teammate Elvis Andrus is 1 for 18 in the last five games, but he’s 8 for 20 (.400) against Kazmir.
The A’s expect to have Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup after he missed four straight games with a strained hamstring. He’s 2 for 19 with a homer in his last six against the Rangers.