Martin Perez has pitched in one game bigger than the one he'll toe the rubber for on Friday night, and that was a Game 163 Wild Card tiebreaker in 2013 against David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Price got the better of Perez and the Rangers that day, but for the then-22-year-old, it was a big experience on a big stage.
Now, Perez takes the hill for the Rangers on Friday night in the midst of an up-and-down campaign since coming back from Tommy John surgery in June. His last outing on Sunday in Houston was one of the good ones, as he allowed two unearned runs in six innings while going toe-to-toe with Dallas Keuchel, who finished the regular season unbeaten at home.
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On Friday, he'll have to outpitch Jered Weaver, the Angels veteran who's long been a thorn in the side of the Rangers and has recently retooled his style and become a guy with pinpoint control who can barely break 85 mph on the radar gun.
Weaver is 15-8 with a 3.50 ERA in his career against the Rangers, spanning 36 starts. But in the Rangers' park, the numbers are more in the Rangers' favor as he has a career 4.70 ERA in 19 starts in Arlington.
Start No. 20 for Weaver comes Friday night, and if Perez can outduel the veteran righty, the Rangers will be poppin' champagne, beers and even some ginger ale well into the early-morning hours of Saturday.