It’s a golden opportunity to make a statement. However, Chi Chi Gonzalez is letting it slip away.
Due to all the injuries sustained by the Rangers starting rotation, pitchers like Gonzalez are getting a chance to show what they got. And right now, it’s not looking good.
Gonzalez has had two subpar starts since joining the Rangers, the worst being Saturday’s 17-5 loss to the Twins. The righty didn’t make it out of the first, allowing four runs and not fooling anyone with his stuff. Keep in mind, the Twins are one of the worst teams in the majors.
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This was preceded by a start in New York earlier this week against a .500 Yankees team where he allowed five runs in five innings in a game that Rangers would go on to win after a lengthy rain delay.
There were thoughts that the Rangers’ 2013 first round pick from Oral Roberts, might lock down the fifth spot in the rotation during spring training, but it didn’t happen. He began the season in Triple-A Round Rock, where he was 3-6 with a 5.04 ERA before being called up.
There were high hopes for Gonzalez after his debut last season, where he held the Red Sox hitless through the first five innings. He followed that with a complete game shutout against the Royals. The future was looking bright.
But Gonzalez struggled after that, and found himself back in the minors. He did rejoin the Rangers later in the season, and saw some playoff action in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Blue Jays. Gonzalez allowed a 3-run home run to Troy Tulowitzki.
Gonzalez said he has been working on adding more sink and break to his pitches during the week, eliminating hangers in the zone that were getting hurt. Gonzalez doesn’t have overpowering stuff, and relies on command and movement. It’s still a work in progress.
Another young pitcher who’s getting a shot on the big league roster, but continues to struggle is Luke Jackson. The righty has been back and forth between the Rangers and the minors during the last couple of seasons, similar to Gonzalez. But Jackson’s stuff is good, which includes a 95+ fastball. He’s spent most of his time coming out of the bullpen while with the Rangers.
Jackson has yet to put it all together in the show. After allowing six runs in just over an inning on Saturday, his ERA jumped up to 10.80.
Both have the makeup to be quality pitchers in the big leagues, but the chances to prove it could be starting to dwindle.