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Pirates’ Martín Pérez Uses Altered Mechanics to Renewed Success

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Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Martin Perez winds up during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Thursday, April 4, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/John McDonnell)

The Pirates couldn’t come up with a win on Independence Day, dropping what could end up as a crucial series against the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race.

The extra innings loss came in spite of the best efforts of starting pitcher Martín Pérez, who went 7.1 innings on an efficient 92 pitches, allowing just one unearned run. 

While Pérez wasn’t blameless on the scoring play—it came after an error he committed, failing to step on first base on what should’ve been a routine out—he used offerings like his cutter, sinker and changeup to great effect, drawing weak contact throughout the contest. Of the 22 outs he recorded, 13 came via ground balls, including three double plays. 

Following the game, Pérez said he felt like the start, his second after nearly a month on the injured list, marked an important step in the right direction.

“I think all of the starters are doing a great job. Having an outing like this one is good for me because it gets me back to where I want to be. Just keep doing our things and things are going to get better,” Pérez said. “[I] was looking to have an outing like this one for a long time. That’s good. Everything was working today.”

Tinkering With Mechanics

It hasn’t been an easy season for Pérez: in addition to his injury, he entered Thursday with a 5.28 ERA, struggling especially as the calendar turned to May. Despite the up-and-down results, Pérez indicated that his improvement could be here to stay, citing mechanical changes for his improved performance. 

“I was working on a couple things in the bullpen with my release point and everything was there today. I was able to move the ball where I wanted and make some pitches,” Pérez said. Before the adjustments, he said he “was too on top of the ball and that’s why everything was pushing the fastball in. Today, I was a little bit more around, everything with my sinker was perfect. I came back where I wanted and finished [how] I want. Hopefully keep doing my thing and keep making adjustments to get better.”

Pérez’s potential resurgence comes at a critical point for the Pirates. With rookie starter Jared Jones headed to the injured list with a lat strain—and innings for him and fellow phenom Paul Skenes far from certain as Pittsburgh tries to ease them into the big leagues—having an experienced pitcher they can rely on could help keep them in the playoff race.

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corky miller

Nice to get perez back. to bad the bottom half of the line up cant hit

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