Baltimore Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez is Team’s Clear Ace


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Coming into this season, the Baltimore Orioles had Chris Tillman as their #1 starter, and Ubaldo Jimenez in the #5 spot. After the first month, Tillman is looking to rebound from a rough start to the year, while Jimenez has proven to be the team’s ace, all the way from the bottom of the rotation.

As we reach the end of April, all five of the Orioles’ starters have each had four starts. In those four starts, Tillman has failed to go five innings in two of them, both of those starts saw him give up seven earned runs.

Meanwhile, Jimenez has only failed to reach the fifth once, that was against the Boston Red Sox, when he hit Pablo Sandoval in the shoulder with two outs in the fourth and was ejected, some would say unfairly ejected, as there was no warning given earlier in the night. That is also the only start so far this year in which he has failed to strike out six or more batters. Oh, by the way, he also hadn’t given up a hit yet in that start.

Jimenez leads the team and ranks eighth in the majors with a 1.59 ERA. He has also gone seven innings twice, and he earned the wins in both of those starts.

Jimenez has also shown that he can step up when needed. His first win of the season came after the Orioles had lost back-to-back games, and his second came on Wednesday, in front of no crowd, and following a two-day layoff.

Jimenez had one rough start where he gave up four runs in a losing effort, but other than that he’s been lights out. The most encouraging thing for Jimenez has been his control, an issue that has plagued him for years, even at the height of his dominance with the Colorado Rockies. He’s walked eight batters so far this year, and has only shown a few control issues.

Even when he has been wild, he’s been effectively so, like the start in Boston when he had given up three walks, but he battled that tough Red Sox lineup, and he kept them out of the runs and hits columns.

Let’s not take anything away from any of the other Baltimore starters. While Tillman and Bud Norris have seen a lot of struggles, they have at least shown signs of what made them bright spots in the past, and Miguel Gonzalez and Wei-Yin Chen have been plenty serviceable. However, if the first month is any indication, and I believe it is, then when the Orioles hit a losing streak in the middle of July, they should be looking forward to getting Jimenez on the mound.

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