Rangers left-hander Martin Perez did not win on the road last season. Now he will make his first road start of 2016 against a pitcher who is among the toughest in baseball when pitching in his home park.
Perez will be going up against Angels right-hander Jered Weaver when the two teams close out their four-game series at Angel Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Weaver, beginning his 11th year with the Angels, will be making his first start of the season after dealing with some neck tightness in Spring Training.
Weaver has made 140 career starts in Anaheim with a record of 73-30. The .709 winning is the highest among active pitchers with at least 75 career starts at home. His 2.67 ERA at home is the second-lowest behind Clayton Kershaw, who has a 2.07 ERA at Dodger Stadium.
The 2.67 ERA is also the fourth-lowest ERA at home by an American League pitcher in the last 70 years for pitchers with at least 75 starts behind Vida Blue (2.54), Whitey Ford (2.57) and Jim Palmer (2.59).
Perez made eight starts on the road last year and was 0-5 with a 4.81 ERA. He was the only Major League pitcher to start at least eight games on the road last season and not get a win.
He is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in two career starts in Anaheim and 1-1 with a 2.28 ERA in four career starts and one relief appearance against the Angels overall.
"It's OK, I want to pitch whether it's at home or on the road," Perez said. "You have to be prepared for everything."
Weaver threw his fastball mostly 79-81 mph this spring, after averaging 84.9 mph last year and trailing only Mark Buehrle for the slowest among non-knuckleball pitchers with at least 150 innings.
"You have to have confidence," Weaver said. "You don't go out there with 80 miles an hour and not have confidence. I still have to go out there and be the competitor and not let my emotions get the best of me. I still have to go out there and know that even though I don't have my good stuff that those guys are still on their toes because I still know how to pitch regardless of what I'm throwing up there."
Three things to know
• Weaver will be making his 38th career start against the Rangers, which will tie him with Frank Tanana for sixth all-time. Felix Hernandez is the leader with 48.
• Adrian Beltre's 84 at-bats against Weaver are tied with Kevin Millwood for the most in his career against one pitcher. He is hitting just .226 with one home run against Weaver.
• Bryan Holaday will catch for the Rangers, with Robinson Chirinos on the DL after suffering a broken right forearm on Saturday.