ARLINGTON -- Rangers rookie right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez has hit his first slump in the Major Leagues. It is not good timing considering the line that is forming for pitchers trying to re-enter the rotation.
Gonzalez was knocked out in the second inning and suffered his third straight defeat as the Rangers lost to the Angels, 8-2, on Friday night.
Gonzalez was tagged for six runs on five hits and two walks in just 1 2/3 innings and has a 10.13 ERA in his past three starts. This was only the third time this season a Rangers starter lasted less than two innings.
"I'm trying to stay positive," Gonzalez said. "It's baseball. It's a game, it's fun. You win some, you lose some. I'm upset, sad I didn't give my team that full chance, but it's just another day. It's a game of failure. You want to remember it so you don't do it again."
Gonzalez's outing comes one day after the Rangers sent Nick Martinez to Triple-A. Martinez was demoted with a record of 5-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts. The Rangers sent him down because they want to give him extra rest, but he could be ready to return after the All-Star break if needed.
Martin Perez could also be ready to return after the break. He has a 3.95 ERA in four starts on medical rehab assignment after throwing 73 pitches for Triple-A on Thursday night. Perez is scheduled to make two more starts before his 30-day rehab assignment ends.
Gonzalez pitched a scoreless first before running into trouble in the second. Erick Aybar and David Freese opened the inning with singles, Matt Joyce walked to load the bases and C.J. Cron gave the Angels a 1-0 lead with a sharp hit to left.
With the bases loaded, Gonzalez almost got out of the inning. He struck out Carlos Perez and retired Johnny Giavotella on a pop out. He also got ahead 0-2 on Kole Calhoun and couldn't put him away. Instead Calhoun worked the count full by not chasing breaking balls in the dirt and then doubled to deep right-center to drive in three runs.
Gonzalez then walked Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, prompting manager Jeff Banister to bring in reliever Anthony Bass. But he gave up a single to Aybar, bringing home two runs that were charged to Gonzalez. After starting his Major League career with two wins and 14 2/3 scoreless innings, Gonzalez is 2-4 with a 3.74 ERA after seven starts.
"It's just falling behind," Gonzalez said. "If you fall behind, you kind of almost have to pitch to contact hoping he hits it at somebody. That was my biggest fault today. From the first pitch of the game was a ball. Getting ahead of hitters is going to improve anyone's game."