Williams Perez growing confident with each start

Braves pitcher Williams Perez was a shot away from winning a game of pool.

Only a black “8 ball” stood in his way from defeating teammate Arodys Vizcaino. As he lined up his pool shot, Perez launched the “cue ball” directly toward the corner pocket.

The ball went in and Perez couldn’t hold back his excitement. With a huge grin, Perez let out a celebratory scream. At that moment, Perez was not worried about his start Friday against the Miami Marlins. Instead he was relaxed, something he credits to his recent call-up from Triple-A Gwinnett on May 11.

“They told me the night before,” Perez said. “I was ready because of my Triple-A start and I had got a call and told to fly in that morning. I got here at like 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. So I was prepared in watching the video and being ready for the game.”

In his return game, Perez went eight innings and allowed one run against the Phillies. His performance caught the attention of Braves interim manager Brian Snitker, along with the entire pitching staff.

“I think their confidence is growing,” Snitker said. “They are really starting to believe in themselves and they keep adding on to what I saw a year ago.”

One change Perez added was more command of his secondary pitches. He worked on his two-seam fastball and his breaking balls in Triple-A. He also worked on his delivery. The result has been a tighter glove hand motion that helps him disguise his pitches to batters.

“I worked on it in the bullpen sessions, and I put it in the game,” Perez said. “I got it worked out in Triple-A and it’s good now.”

Overall, the results have been great. This season, Perez is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA. He also has 10 strikeouts and owns a 1.13 WHIP. This has caused Snitker to keep him in the starting rotation as the fourth starter.

“As they get out there, they start believing in themselves and trusting their stuff,” Snitker said. “I think this is where we are trying to go with them.”

Perez will start against Miami’s Adam Conley on Friday in Game 1 of the weekend series.