SEATTLE -- As a long-time starter, Oliver Perez is used to pitching on five day's rest. That's a rare occurrence for a trusted left-handed reliever, but the 32-year-old seemed to benefit greatly from a five-day break before throwing a perfect ninth inning in Friday's 2-0 loss to the Angels.
Perez was one of the Mariners' top relievers in the first half of the season, posting a 1.75 ERA with opponents hitting .208 against him in his first 38 appearances. But since the All-Star break, Perez has a 15.95 ERA with a .450 opponents' batting average in 11 games, even after the 1-2-3 outing Friday.
Perez said he was ready to pitch every day, but he was never even asked to warm up in the Oakland series after allowing six runs on five hits and two walks, while getting just two outs on 40 pitches in a 15-3 loss at Texas on Saturday.
"That was one of those days where if I'd thrown the rosin bag, they'd probably have hit it for a base hit," Perez said. "I was just trying to get outs and get out of there. But when you get a break like this, those five days help you feel really good and fresh. That's very important."
Perez said he knew his velocity had been dropping, but he's tried to pace himself. He just became a reliever last year and said he's still learning how to stay fresh throughout the long season, with a key being how much throwing to do between appearances.
"At this time of the year, guys get a little tired," Perez said. "You try to save your throws to be 100 percent in games."
Manager Eric Wedge said it was pretty clear Perez benefited from the break.
"He'll never make any excuses, but I think that's what it was," Wedge said. "You saw the way he was arm-side high so much, that's usually a good indicator of a guy trying to make up for [being tired]. He's such a competitor. To have those five days off and be able to get in the game last night and see the velocity, the looseness of the delivery, the consistency of his release point, those are things you like to see.
"When you have a young bullpen and you've got guys who are getting it done, you're going to go to them as much as you can to have a chance to win ballgames. We've been in a lot of close games this year that haven't turned our way, but you're still in them and you're fighting to win those games. You're going to use the guys you think give you the best chance, and he's been right in the middle of that."