Eury Perez Did Not Disappoint in his MLB Debut

Photo by Kevin Barral

Miami, Fl – It all lined up perfectly for Eury Perez’s debut. The Marlins were back at .500 (19-19) and they returned to loanDepot Park to kick off a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. The cherry on top, Perez made his debut on a Flashback Friday so 13,938 fans had the chance to see the 6’8″ right-hander rock the teal and pinstripes.

This is one of the few games throughout an MLB season where the results of the game are overlooked and all eyes are on the rookie pitcher making his MLB debut. Turning just 20 years old last month, Eury Perez becomes the youngest pitcher in franchise history to make his big league debut.

Although the final score was not the result fans were hoping for, they left loanDepot Park with a 7-4 Marlins loss but with plenty of optimism for the future after watching Eury Perez dazzle on the mound.

The Outing

Eury Perez has never eclipsed 90 pitches in any outing in the minor leagues so it was fair to say that there was going to be a pitch count on the right-hander. Miami’s No.1 prospect was electric on the mound immediately showing off his velocity with a 98 mph fastball to Cincinnati’s leadoff hitter. He would then work around a two-out walk in the first inning and collected his first MLB strikeout against Tyler Stephenson.

In the second and third inning combined, Perez collected four strikeouts and stranded a runner on base in both frames. Many thought control and command might be an issue for the rookie but Perez only walked two Reds and neither came across to score. The real issue was Perez’s second time through Cincinnati’s lineup.

In the top of the fourth, Stephenson got payback against Perez with a solo home run to left field, a “Welcome to the Bigs” moment for the rookie. Nick Senzel followed that up with a double but Perez showed his composure and limited the damage to just the home run.

Nearing 80 pitches, I assumed Perez’s night was over after completing the fourth inning but Marlins manager Skip Schumaker sent him out there for the fifth to face the Reds’ order for the third time. Perez retired the first two batters of the inning but left fielder Jake Fraley had other plans. Instead of Perez recording his first 1-2-3 inning, Fraley launched a solo homer to right field and that would put an end to Eury’s debut.

What’s Next for Eury Perez

It would have been nice to see Perez complete five innings but his final stat line is nothing to scoff at. Perez struck out seven Reds with two walks and two earned runs. The more important stat I noticed was the pitch count at 88. There is no need and no rush to add the extra workload for Perez but almost reaching 90 pitches is an encouraging sight.

The nail in Miami’s coffin was issued by Fraley in the top of the ninth when he blasted a three-run home run off of Dylan Floro to give the Reds the decisive 7-4 lead. That was Fraley’s first multi-homer game and recorded four RBIs.

The downside of Eury’s outings will be the bullpen usage. It is no secret that Perez will not work deep into games so Miami needs to have arms ready in their bullpen to backup the rookie. Unfortunately, the bullpen coughed up the lead in the top of the seventh inning when the Reds tied the game 4-4. Luckily, Sandy Alcantara starts the days after Perez, and Miami’s ace has a reputation for eating up innings.

All in all, this was one of the more exciting and successful rookie debuts in Marlins’ history despite the final results. Fans should just enjoy the ride and watch the growth and development of this elite talent. Miami isn’t competing for a World Series nor are they in “contender” conversations.

Once Perez gets a few more starts under his belt and continues to build his confidence, Miami’s starting rotation is going to look really scary with Alcantara, Jesus Luzardo, and Edward Cabrera.

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