Nick Tepesch is aware of the circumstances.
The Rangers' second-year hurler knows that his Friday opponent has nearly six times the number of wins in his career than the young hurler has starts in his. He knows that the Mariners' Felix Hernandez has eight wins and just one loss this season. But still, Tepesch has no fears.
"I don't really look at who I'm pitching against. I'm pitching against the Mariners, I'm not pitching against Felix Hernandez, in a sense," Tepesch said. "I'm facing their hitters. I don't have to face Felix. He's got to do his thing, and I've got to do my thing."
Tepesch is 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA. In his last outing, in an 8-3 loss to the Indians, Tepesch allowed four runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out just one and walked four, a season high.
"Looking back at the last two [starts], the Washington outing was more or less I didn't command anything. I didn't do anything well, it was just one of those days where you can't do anything right, I guess," Tepesch said. "But the last outing, I didn't think it was too bad. I just made a couple of mistakes and that kind of hurt me."
Tepesch is 1-1 in four starts with a 4.19 ERA against Seattle.
Meanwhile, Hernandez is 12-20 with a 4.11 ERA in 41 starts against Texas, though overall he's been dominant this season. His eight wins are the most he's had through 14 starts in his career. In his last outing, Hernandez took a no-decision but had a career-high 15 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings against Tampa Bay, lowering his ERA to 2.39. He allowed just four hits and walked one.
Mike Zunino has caught every Hernandez start this season. He said the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner's fastball has gained extra life of late.
"It's awesome. Every time he's on the mound, you know you're going to get his best effort, and he's going to come out and dominate a ballgame," Zunino said. "We get excited to play behind him, and obviously work with him throughout the game. Any time you have a chance to do that, it's a fun day."
Rangers: Rowen ready for big league debut
With Tanner Scheppers on the disabled list with recurring right elbow inflammation, the Rangers have recalled right-hander Ben Rowen. Rowen arrived in Arlington on Wednesday and was eligible to make his Major League debut, but he wasn't needed.
Instead, Rangers starter Yu Darvish threw a shutout against the Marlins, relieving Rowen and the rest of the bullpen from their duties. But Rowen could be an option in relief Friday.
In Triple-A Round Rock, Rowen was 1-0 with a 2.75 ERA. He was also the Rangers' 2012 Minor League Reliever of the Year.
"He's been throwing well," manager Ron Washington said. "I don't think he's given up very much down there, so I'm looking forward to seeing him."
Mariners: Montero ready for second chance
Former top prospect Jesus Montero says he's learned his learned his lesson -- he's done taking his MLB career for granted after beginning the season with Triple-A Tacoma.
"The biggest thing for me was I learned how valuable it is to be in the big leagues, how good it is to be in the big leagues," Montero, 24, said Thursday, hours after getting recalled to replace right fielder Michael Saunders on Seattle's 25-man roster.
Saunders was placed on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder Wednesday.
For Montero, the callup is a second chance. In 2013, he hit .208 with just three home runs and nine RBIs in 29 games before the Mariners demoted him in May. Shortly after, he underwent knee surgery, then was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for his involvement with Biogenesis.
To make matters worse, he showed up overweight to 2014 Spring Training. But Thursday, he said he's been working on his cardio in the Minor Leagues.
And he's hit Pacific Coast League pitching, posting a .270 batting average with eight homers and 40 RBIs in 59 games.
When the Mariners face left-handed pitching, he'll start and play designated hitter, according to manager Lloyd McClendon.
"I think he's trying to get things back together," McClendon said. "He's been working hard, and he's actually been swinging the bat better than the numbers indicated down there. For me, he was the logical choice."
• The Rangers snapped a four-game losing streak with a win against the Marlins on Wednesday night.
• The two teams split a two-game series in May in Arlington. The Mariners took the first game, 6-2, on May 20, and the Rangers won, 4-3, the next day. The three-game series with Seattle kicks off a nine-game road trip for Texas.
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.