Oliver Perez had a pretty typical year by his standards. The veteran lefty once again posted a double-digit strikeout rate (10.6 K/9) and reached double-digit holds for a fourth straight season. Walks were Perez's Achilles' heel during his days as a starter long ago, but he's been better in terms of limiting the free passes in recent years, with his BB/9 settling at 3.3 in 2017. While right-handed batters beat up on Perez early, he improved as the season wore on -- righties were hitting .321 against Perez at the All-Star break, but he trimmed that number down to .279 by the end of the campaign. He's still best utilized as a specialist given his splits. Currently a free agent, Perez should be able to find work and extend his major-league career into a 16th season.
Perez owns an ERA of 4.06 through 31 innings pitched with the Nationals this year. Perez hasn't seen much work lately, pitching in only 16 of his team's last 60 games. Over that stretch, he has a solid ERA of 3.65 and a K/9 of 11.7. His role right now seems to be more of a left-handed specialist, and he will be used in low-leverage innings as the season draws to a close.
Perez has given up nine runs on 18 hits with 22 strikeouts through 18 innings this season. Working mostly as a left-handed specialist, Perez's struggles have come when he's faced opposite-handed hitters. Right-handed batters are hitting .321 against him and have only struck out seven times in 30 plate appearances. Meanwhile, lefties are only averaging .214 while striking out 15 times out of 47 attempts.
Perez struck out the only hitter he faced Monday against the Dodgers to pick up his first save of 2017. Perez entered Monday with two career saves through 14-plus MLB seasons (both of which came in 2013 with Seattle). The veteran became the sixth Nationals reliever to record a save this season, but owners shouldn't be racing to the waiver wire. Perez was brought on to face the switch-hitting Yasmani Grandal, who's hit just .171 off southpaws this season.
Perez has given up 13 hits through 9.1 innings pitched. The Nationals haven't entrusted Perez with much playing time this year, and Perez has given them no reason to change that. Opposing hitters are batting .333 against the former starter and that number increases to .403 on balls put in play, which have both played a role in Perez's sky-high ERA of 5.79.
Perez has yielded three runs over 2.1 innings to start this season in two appearances. Despite the small sample size, Perez's FIP has skyrocketed to 6.79 and his WHIP sits at 1.71. The 34-year-old primarily serves as a lefty specialist these days, and he's coming off a 4.95 ERA with 46 strikeouts over 40 innings last season.