ARLINGTON, Texas -- Martin Perez will go toe-to-toe with his pitching idol on Saturday night.
The Rangers' 22-year-old left-hander faces fellow Venezuelan Felix Hernandez in what will certainly be a huge moment for Perez. He knows what he's going up against with a major league superstar that is five years his senior.
"To me he's the best pitcher in the big leagues," Perez said on Friday.
Don't expect Perez to come out in awe of King Felix as much as he respects his fellow countryman. He can't afford to after the Rangers lost 3-1 on Friday night, a game in which Texas led entering the eighth inning.
Perez has been on a great run, his latest feat his first career complete game against the Houston Astros on Sunday. Perez came within an out of a shutout before allowing a home run to Astros backup catcher Carlos Corporan.
"I just need to keep doing what I've been doing," Perez said.
Perez has been known to get excited on the mound and speed things up. Can he control that against Felix?
"I don't know," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I don't know. He's been doing a good job of controlling his emotions. I really don't know."
WHAT'S UP NOW: Rapid reaction from Friday's 3-1 loss to Seattle. Jean-Jacques Taylor opines about Leonys Martin and his new role as the Rangers' leadoff hitter. Also a post-game blog on a rare hiccup for Neal Cotts.
ON DECK: The Rangers and Seattle play the second game of a three-game series with left-hander Martin Perez (5-3, 3.44 ERA) facing Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez (12-5, 3.28) at 7:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Can the Rangers even up the series against King Felix?