Monday, September 26, 2022 Sep 26, 2022
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What I’m Watching: A Heated Iron Skillet

Plus: Martin Perez's quest to enter the free-agent market strong and a potential inflection point in the Jason Robertson negotiations.
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Sonny Dykes won't get a warm reception in his return to SMU. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

Slovenia finally crashed out of EuroBasket, but the Cowboys got in the win column after holding Ja’Marr Chase to a measly 54 yards. Meanwhile, Josh Jung is knocking his way into opposing pitchers’ consciousness one game at a time, notching hits in six of his seven games last week, culminating in a homer in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay.

Here’s what I’m watching this week:

Monday, 9/19 through Wednesday 9/21—Does Jason Robertson make it to training camp on time?The Internet

We’re 48 hours from the start of training camp, and the Stars’ most electric player is still without a contract. If you read David Castillo, you know better than to sweat that. But no one in the Stars’ building wants negotiations to drag out any longer than they already have, which is long enough for someone to start a Twitter account called “Did the Stars Sign Jason Robertson Today?”

The start of training camp often has a thawing effect on contract talks, which gives us real cause to wonder if resolution is around the corner. What are the odds this gets done on time? I’ll leave you in the hands of my former colleague, The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf, for that:

We’ll see if he’s right.

Thursday, 9/22—Rangers versus Angels1:05 p.m., Bally Sports Southwest

Martin Perez has been the story of the Rangers’ season, a one-year boomerang who blossomed into an All-Star. Now the 31-year-old is set to re-enter the market with a multi-year deal in his sights. How big does the number get?

Let’s pause to examine Perez’s monthly Fielder Independent Pitching (FIP), a metric that attempts to measure a pitcher’s results independent of the quality of defense behind him:

  • March/April: 2.58
  • May: 2.19
  • June: 3.11
  • July: 4.50
  • August: 4.22
  • September/October: 2.29

Notice a trend? The writing was on the wall that Perez would experience some regression after his superlative first half. The question was always how much. For much of the second half, the answer seemed like enough to possibly put a real damper on his market. But that last number offers hope of a rebound, both in Perez’s performance and in the confidence Texas or some other team might have to cut him a very large check.

Perez’s fourth start of the month comes Thursday. Another strong outing puts him one step closer to his windfall.

Saturday,  9/24—TCU at SMU—11 a.m., ESPNU

The Battle for the Iron Skillet requires neither introduction nor added stakes, so you can expect the crowd to be white hot when Sonny Dykes makes his first appearance at his former school since crossing rivalry lines to take the TCU job.

If you’re a Mustang who wants to feel especially riled up going into Saturday, re-read Laken Litman’s feature on Dykes from last fall just prior to his departure. It’ll give you all the vitriol you need.


Mike Piellucci

Mike Piellucci

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Mike Piellucci is D Magazine's sports editor. He is a former staffer at The Athletic and VICE, and his freelance…

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