First-round pick Alex Gonzalez made his professional debut, but it didn't last too long. He went just 1 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on five hits. He also struck out one and walked one on 34 pitches.
Gonzalez, a right-hander out of Oral Roberts didn't sound too concerned with his outing. He was disappointed and frustrated (who wouldn't be?), but also had plenty of perspective. You can see in his comments below that he he felt comfortable, just didn't make pitches when need be.
He was on a tight pitch count (or innings limit, whichever came first), so the fact that he exited early isn't of concern. What is of concern, to Gonzalez and the Rangers, at least, is developing his changeup. Gonzalez said he threw eight and only three were up to par.
One random thought I wanted to sneak in here is that Indians catcher Charles Moorman has an absolute canon. Two runners tried to steal on him tonight and he threw a bullet in the exact spot it needed to be both times.
Below are comments from Gonzalez, manager Tim Hulett and outfielder Chris Garcia, who had a two-run triple in the seventh and three RBI on the night.
Garia talked a bit about AquaSox starter Rigoberto Garcia, who allowed just two runs on three hits in six innings. Most of that part of the interview isn't transcribed (see next paragraph for reason), but he essentially said he was throwing two pitches: fastball and slider.
Garcia didn't do well in 2011 in the Dominican Summer League when he went a miserable 0-5 with a 4.01 ERA in nine games. In Pulaski of the Advanced Rookie League last season, he went 5-4 with a 5.37 ERA in 13 games.
Garcia does not appear to be a strikeout pitcher, but he was effective in pitching to contact and was able to get through six innings tonight with only two walks. Six of his outs were flyouts, nine were groundouts and three were strikeouts.
As you might imagine, it's not easy getting quotes on the field during a fireworks show. With Opening Night fireworks on display after today's game, the below quotes are not great. That being said, at least there are some.
On how it felt: First outing, professional debut. The pressure and everything. I felt comfortable out there, nothing shocking or anything. I didn't make the pitches when I needed to. My offspeed wasn't that great. When I did miss it was down, [but] I didn't really make that adjustment right away.
On if he was content with his outing: I was happy. That changeup is still a work in progress. I threw it about eight times; three times were good. It's got to be better than that. Obviously, I'm not happy with my outing. That will happen. I felt comfortable out there, felt great. I competed, I tried to compete. Did the best I could.
On the pitch count: I didn't know I was on a pitch count, I thought it was inning wise. They told me when he took me out, I was at 34 and I was going to go 35, so that was it.
On when he felt nervous: I felt it. I felt it in the bullpen more than anything. When I got out there, I felt comfortable. The most pressure pitch I had was my first warmup pitch, basically. But when I got out there I was ready to go.
On Gonzalez's outing: He was on a [two inning, 35 pitch count] to start with just to protect him because he got a bunch of innings in college. It was a little shaky. I thought he was nervous. The pitches that were down were effective and the ones that were up got hit.
If you get the ball up, you're going to get hit.
On getting behind early: We could have folded pretty easy. I think they had butterflies early. Fourth inning they settled down, scored a run. Everything kind of worked good for us at that point.
On importance of comeback: I think it's huge to come back and not get shutout or maybe get one hit. We made the most of our hits. The guys that hit the ball can run, so they ended up on third base and scoring position. That was good to see.
On hitting: Just finding holes. We didn't swing the bats good up and down the line, but we had a couple guys that swung it good. Chris hit his ball hard and Saquan had a good at-bat on his that he hit. I think the right fielder misplayed it a bit, but he put a couple good swings on the pitches before to keep the at-bat going.
On AquaSox starter Rigoberto Garcia: His fastball was very hard. He threw us away and then he come in 2-0, 2-1. The slider he had was very good.
On tomorrow: The second game, we need to play very hard because they have a good team. We can swing the bats ... and we going to win this game tomorrow.