Dan Schlossberg's Weekend Report: The Ace Nobody Knows • Latino Sports

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Dan Schlossberg’s Weekend Report: The Ace Nobody Knows

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Outside of the Dallas Metroplex, few people have ever heard of Martin Perez — or even that his given name is pronounced Mar-teen.

In his first full big-league season, the little lefty (6′, 180 pounds) is standing the American League on its collective ear.

He personally propelled the Texas Rangers to a 14-8 start by tossing 26 consecutive scoreless innings, best in the bigs this year, while firing back-to-back shutouts.

That’s tough enough to do even once against an opponent with a designated hitter batting for the pitcher.

Martin Perez handcuffed opponents early this season

Martin Perez handcuffed opponents early this season

The Venezuelan southpaw jumped to the majors last year after starting 5-1 with a 1.75 earned run average for Triple-A Round Rock. Then he won 10 more (in 16 decisions) for Texas, where he crafted a neat 3.62 ERA.

“He’s held it together,” said Texas manager Ron Washington of Perez. “He’s the one guy who was in our rotation last year who hasn’t had a blip yet. He’s been our glue.”

Almost an afterthought behind Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, and Derek Holland when spring training started, Perez was pressed into an ace-like status when the other holdovers were sidelined with injuries. He responded by pitching the same way he did last summer.

The first Ranger since 2006 with three straight scoreless starts, Perez jumped to a 4-0 start this season by holding rivals to 1.42 earned runs per nine innings. He also worked more innings than anyone else in the Junior Circuit.

At 23, his future seems unlimited — especially since the Rangers boast a heavy-hitting attack that gives their pitching staff plenty of support.

Elsewhere on the baseball beat:

Carlos Beltran connects Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Carlos Beltran connects
Image Credit: Bill Menzel

At age 37, Carlos Beltran is providing not only power from both sides of the plate but ideas from both sides of the brain; he says big-league teams should be required to hire English interpreters for Spanish-speaking players . . .

Detroit superstar Miguel Cabrera, gunning for his third straight Most Valuable Player trophy, is certain to get paychecks through 2024, according to terms of his latest contract extension. The only other player promised to be paid a decade from now is Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto . . .

Don’t look now, but Toronto’s Juan Francisco is having a much better year than the man who knocked him off third base in Atlanta (Chris Johnson) . . .

Even factoring in the Coors Field Factor, how do you explain the 28-game hitting streak of Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado — or the fact that his .322 batting average ranks behind three teammates (Troy Tulowitzki, Charlie Blackmon, and Justin Morneau)? . . .

With Derek Jeter retiring and Tulowitzki a free agent after this season, can anything prevent the Rockies from losing their biggest star to the pinstriped octopus that grabs anyone it wants? . . .

TULO

Will Tulo be Derek’s heir?

Now that Ubaldo Jimenez has won two straight starts and Manny Machado is settling after a prolonged stint on the sidelines, the Baltimore Orioles sit alone at the top of the American League East . . .

Even  though the Philadelphia Phillies were nicknamed Blue Jays for a brief time in the ’40s, they have no love for the name after the current Jays beat them eight times in a row . . .

It’s also ironic that Houston has a Dallas — rookie pitcher Dallas Keuchel not only outpitched old Arkansas college roommate Drew Smyly Thursday but ended Detroit’s eight-game winning streak in the process . . .

Shin-Soo Choo is making a strong case for himself as the best free agent signing; the Texas centerfielder leads the American League with a .354 average that would rank only third in the National League . . .

Megaprospect George Springer collected his first big-league homer at Detroit Thursday for the Houston Astros . . .

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez persists in batting his pitcher eighth, figuring that his No. 9 hitter might reach base and enable No. 3 man Freddie Freeman to bat with more men on base . . .

DAN UGGLAHard to believe that slump-ridden Dan Uggla produced the longest hitting streak (33 games) in the history of the Atlanta Braves . . .

The hand-operated scoreboard atop the center field bleachers in Wrigley Field is so enormous that it needs more than 300 openings to let Chicago’s legendary wind pass through harmlessly . . .

Across town, four Cuban players are suiting up with the White Sox, a team that seems to have a pipeline from Havana to Chicago. In addition to Minnie Minoso’s five stints with the club, other prominent Cubans to wear White Sox livery previously were Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez, Jose Contreras, and Jose Canseco. No team since the 1969 Cleveland Indians has started at least four native Cubans in one game.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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