Perez will try for his first win in more than three months when he takes the mound for the Pirates in the middle game of their weekend series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A lot was expected from Perez after he went 12-10 with a 2.98 ERA in 30 starts last year for a Pirates team that finished with just 72 wins. However, the 24-year-old left-hander started this season 1-4 with an 8.03 ERA in seven starts.
He started to turn things around, going 5-1 with a 4.46 ERA in seven starts from May 21-June 21, but then kicked a laundry cart in frustration after a start against St. Louis on June 26 and ended up on the disabled list two days later with a broken toe.
Since returning, Perez has looked more like the pitcher that started the season than the one who was rolling prior to his injury, posting no record and a 7.27 ERA in three starts.
“I think (Perez) is so concerned with his command that he aims the ball more than he should,” Pirates interim manager Pete Mackanin said. “For me, he’s just got too much flair instead of the consistent release point and arm slot. He’s got to get back to basics.”
Perez allowed four earned, five hits and five walks over 2 2-3 innings in the Pirates’ 9-7 win over Cincinnati on Sunday.
“The problems are the mechanics and control. I have to keep working to get better for next time,” Perez said. “I want to finish with a couple of good games and try to get better and be ready for next spring training.”
The Pirates have dropped four straight following a four-game winning streak, including Friday’s 4-3 loss. They own the worst record in the NL, and are 7-11 under Mackanin.
The Dodgers ended a six-game losing streak, but have dropped eight of their last 10 overall.
Rookie third baseman Willy Aybar went 2-for-4 on Friday, and is hitting .397 (23-for-58) this season. He has at least one hit in 12 of his 13 major league starts.
Jeff Kent drove in his team-high 105th run with a bases-loaded walk in the sixth.