Baltimore Orioles: Jimenez making it tough


As I said yesterday, one of the big mysteries left in the remainder of camp is who cracks the rotation for the 2015 Baltimore Orioles. Ubaldo Jimenez attempted yesterday to do his part to answer that question, as he turned in a superior outing in Bradenton against Pittsburgh. Jimenez’s line: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 0 R. In five innings of work, it’s tough to get much better than that. And to top it off, Oriole bats were able to provide a great outing on their own to compliment Jimenez’s stats.

The O’s put runs on the board in the fourth, on a Pearce homer, a Lavarnway RBI-groundout, and RBI-singles from Chris Davis, Evereth Cabrera, and Ryan Flaherty. But that was only the beginning. Paul Janish would run that score to 7-0 on an RBI-single in the sixth. Pittsburgh’s Jeff Decker would ground into a double-play (scoring a run), and Neil Walker would add an RBI-single in the sixth and the O’s held a 7-2. 

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The O’s would add two more runs on a Caleb Joseph sac fly in the seventh, and

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Chris Parmalee would net an RBI on a walk to run the final score to 9-2. However the stats of the day were those of Jimenez. Needless to say,  Jimenez is making things pretty tough for Showalter and company in terms of making a decision for the final rotation. My personal opinion is that it’s between Jimenez and Kevin Gausman for the rotation spot. Some say that Miguel Gonzalez could be in play in terms of working for a spot, but I maintain that he’s safe.

We’ve seen Gausman used primarily out of the bullpen this spring. He’s looked good in his outings for sure, however it’s generally not been in a starting role that we’ve seen him. I don’t want to read too much into that, because we’ve also seen a few starts out of Brian Matusz – who I don’t think is in any way slotted for the rotation. In the past Buck Showalter has held some of his starters back out of games, so again I don’t think we can read into Gausman’s lack of starts or time in games overall.

Ultimately as I’ve said in the past, I don’t think that Gausman would be well served as a bullpen reliever. Jimenez would be an expensive one, but I think he could easily slide into the longman slot. Gausman needs his opportunity to sink or swim as a big league starter. But ultimately a plan is forming in Showalter’s and Dan Duquette’s minds, and they know what they’re doing. The good news across the board is that with his recent performances, Jimenez isn’t making that easy on them.

Toronto returns to Ed Smith Stadium this afternoon to take on the Orioles in a game that will be televised regionally on MASN. Wei-Yin Chen, who’s rotation spot is not in question, will get the start for the O’s. He’ll be opposed by Daniel Norris.