Perez (2-1) was awarded the win against the Mets after pitching two-thirds of an inning with one strikeout in the top of the sixth. Perez got in the game early after starter Lucas Giolito was limited to four innings by a rain delay, and got the victory thanks to Giolito's ineligibility. The win was all the more sweet coming against his former team, but don't expect the unusual circumstances surrounding this decision to repeat themselves any time soon.
Perez is 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA after pitching 14.1 innings across 21 games. Brought on for his ability to retire left-handed batters, Perez has been able to deliver for the Nationals. When against lefties, he has an opponent batting average of just .111 and a 1.00 ERA. However, it's not often that he throws more than an inning, largely due to his struggles against right-handed batters. His 6.75 ERA and 1.88 WHIP against righties makes Perez a liability in certain scenarios, but his efficiency against lefties should be enough to keep him on board to make frequent (yet brief) appearances.
Perez came away with his first win of the season in Sunday's improbable 16-inning victory over the Twins, tossing 1.1 scoreless innings while allowing one hit and striking out one. The most impressive part of his performance didn't come on the mound, however. Forced to hit for himself in the bottom of the 15th, as the Nats were out of position players, Perez laid down a bunt with two outs and Danny Espinosa on second base which produced the tying run when Twins catcher John Ryan Murphy air-mailed the ball to first base rather than letting it roll foul. Perez has had a strong start to the season, posting a 1.59 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 9:4 K:BB ratio in 5.2 innings over eight appearances, but his primary role as a situational lefty isn't likely to produce much fantasy value.
Perez threw a scoreless ninth inning Wednesday, allowing his first hit of the spring. He still has a 0.00 ERA through three Grapefruit League innings, and Perez is expected to fill a situational role for the Nationals this season as the second left-hander in their bullpen behind Felipe Rivero. That role won't give him a lot of fantasy value, but he has topped an 11.0 K/9 for three straight seasons, so if he does see a larger workload than expected he could be useful in deep formats.
Perez agreed to a two-year, $7 million contract with the Nationals on Friday, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports. Perez split time with the Diamondbacks and Astros last season, but was far more successful in the NL to the tune of a 3.10 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 29 innings in Arizona. He'll likely serve as a situational lefty option for the Nationals, but should see some higher-leverage innings.