The Texas Rangers are always looking for pitching help, and one name that keeps getting brought up amongst the fan base is Alex Gonzalez, or Chi Chi. While he’s been pushed around a couple of times on the mound this season, he’s been largely effective in his seven starts in Round Rock. Friday night was one of his most impressive outings of the young season, as the righty went 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball. This comes on the heels of a five inning, two hit performance against Nashville last Saturday.
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When Chi Chi was left out of the Rangers’ rotation to start the season, it was understandable. The 23 year old had never pitched above Double-A, and needed some time to mature at the next level. Yet, with the rough start that Ross Detwiler has gotten off to (0-5, 6.95 ERA in seven starts) many fans are ready for a change.
Gonzalez has had two good starts in a row before this season, lasting 6 and 6 2/3 innings while allowing two runs each time back on April 23 and 28. He followed that up with a line of 4 2/3 IP, 10 hits, 7 runs (5 earned) against Omaha on May 4th. If you’re looking for a little reassurance the team he beat on Friday night was also Omaha.
While Chi Chi is likely still a ways from being called up, he could take a big step forward by putting together a third solid outing. In the book Baseball Maverick, Sandy Alderson tells author Steve Kettmann that he just needed Mets’ pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to pitch well in three consecutive outings in Triple-A before being called up. Perhaps Jon Daniels is thinking along the same lines.
One other facet that Gonzalez could improve upon to expedite his path to the majors would be his pitch count. His WHIP is an unimpressive 1.47 this season, which is leading to the righty reaching his pitch count limit relatively early in games. He has yet to reach seven innings this season, instead usually reaching his 90-100 pitch limit after five.
Also in the game, Josh Hamilton made his final appearance for the Express before joining Frisco on Saturday, going 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a strikeout. Rougned Odor went hitless for the first time in four Triple-A games, lowering his average to .250.
The Express take on Colorado Springs Saturday night at 7:05.