Ubaldo Jimenez went to the mound yesterday afternoon hoping to record his first win as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. At the very least, he was hoping to turn in perhaps a strong outing for the Birds. However in the end it turned out that he was able to do neither, as the Orioles fell 11-3 to a Toronto team that seems to have found it’s groove after a weekend at the yard. Jimenez’s line: 5.1 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K. Jimenez struggled once again with his command, as was evident in the first inning when Colby Rasmus picked up where he left off last night – hitting a solo homer onto Eutaw St. And with that, Toronto was off…
Jimenez is a pitch-to-contact pitcher, and when you combine that with the fact that he was
playing a free-swinging team in Toronto today, it can spell disaster. However as I said, Jimenez’s command was just off. His pitches were up in the zone, which is exactly how Toronto wanted them. The Orioles tried to fight back, and certainly did so in the last of the first when Nick Markakis led off with a long single. Markakis would go to third on Delmon Young‘s double, and he would later score on Adam Jones‘ RBI-groundout. However the Orioles were only able to net that one run in an inning where they had two runners in scoring position and nobody out. Offensive mishaps like that will also have to change if the O’s are going to get things going.
Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion would each score on RBI-groundouts in the fourth, and the Orioles trailed 3-1. Brett Lawrie would add a solo homer in the sixth, and in the same inning Rasmus would haunt the Orioles again with a two-RBI double. By the end of the fourth inning, Toronto had chased Jimenez and put five runs on the board, opening up the score to 8-1. Throw in a Jose Bautista three-run homer to left field in the eighth, and you have most of Toronto’s scoring in a nutshell.
The Orioles couldn’t fight back per se in terms of the score of the game, but they could still certainly make waves and thus not “go quietly.” Chris Davis caught the first pitch with two outs and deposited it in center field over the fence, closing the lead to 11-2. Matt Wieters would follow with a solo home run of his own, capping the final score at 11-3.The Orioles hit a lot of balls hard and sent a lot of balls to well-placed parts of the field yesterday, however Toronto fielders showed great range in terms of getting to whatever the Orioles hit in this game. Rasmus had a couple of very nice plays in center field in terms of tracking balls, and Lawrie saved a few runs with his leather over at the hot corner.
There’s no use in crying over spilled milk, and the Orioles now find themselves looking towards Tampa’s arrival at Camden Yards this coming week. However one question that lingers in my mind is what do they do with Ubaldo Jimenez? My personal opinion is that Buck Showalter should skip him in the rotation this week; with an off day on Thursday, the Orioles in theory would only need four starters. And that wouldn’t be a punitive measure incidentally; it would be simply to help him to regain his composure and his mechanics. Whether or not Buck Showalter decides to do that or not is another story, however it’s something he’s certainly done in the past.
Toronto has always been a thorn in the Orioles’ side, as has Tampa – who comes into the yard tonight. Orioles fans should keep in mind that there are a lot worse places to be after 12 games than 5-7. However, Tampa’s also a team that’ll come into the yard with something to prove after being bludgeoned against the Reds yesterday. That aside, they’re a team that wears out your pitching if you allow them. However on the flip side their pitching will in turn wear out your hitters. So ultimately the Orioles will need to take what the pitcher is giving them as opposed to looking to go up swinging and hit the ball out of the ballpark. The Orioles will throw Wei-Yin Chen, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Chris Archer.