Baltimore Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez a hard-luck loser
If you told me that Ubaldo Jimenez was going to give up one run prior to last night’s game in Chicago, I would have said that would have been win for the Baltimore Orioles. In general, solo home runs aren’t going to kill you – unless you let them, that is. They can often feel similar to death by a paper cut in a way. But in general, you’re going to find yourself in trouble in games if you can’t overcome solo shots.
In Jimenez’s case, he pitched a great game that was well worthy of earning a victory against the ChiSox. Jimenez’s line: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K. Catcher Caleb Joseph said after the game that Jimenez didn’t have his really good stuff. While a catcher would know better than a writer, in my personal opinion I would respectfully disagree. However needless to say, Jimenez put the Orioles in a position to win the game – and then some. That’s what you ask of your starter.
Call to the Pen
The Orioles were never really able to get a rally going, although each time they tried they were somehow foiled. Part of it for sure was that they managed to run into some pretty decent pitching once again in the form of John Danks. However you do have to take advantage of situations when they come about; the Birds had two runners on in the fifth, and Steve Pearce grounded into a double-play to kill the rally temporarily. The O’s still had a runner at third with two outs when Caleb Joseph walked to cover the corners, but Ryan Flaherty grounded out to end the inninng.
The Orioles’ best chance to score was perhaps in the top of the seventh when they had two runners on with one out. With Joseph at the plate, Danks unloaded a wild pitch and suddenly the O’s had two runners in
Courtesy of Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
scoring position. A base hit would have probably given the Birds the lead, however Joseph struck out and Flaherty flied out to end the threat and the inning.
None of that takes away however from how impressive Jimenez was. The few times he found himself in trouble he pitched out of it. It was Jose Abreu of course who hit the solo home run in the last of the third which sunk the Birds on this night. Jimenez left the pitch up and Abreu jumped on it, however he also hit the ball the opposite way. That speaks more to the strength of Abreu than the poor location of the pitch, as in general a player isn’t going to be able to hit that out the other way.
Jimenez did show signs of coming undone in the immediate aftermath of that homer. He took the next hitter (Melky Cabrera) to 3-1, before battling back and striking him out. Following an Adam LaRoche ground out, Jimenez and the Orioles got some help in the form of incredibly poor base running by Chicago. Avisail Garcia hit a soft fly ball to right center, for which Chris Davis (in right field once again) made a diving attempt. The ball deflected off of Davis’ glove, and was thrown back into the infield by second baseman Ryan Flaherty. Garcia never had any prayer of being safe at second base, yet he continued on anyways; and J.J. Hardy was waiting for him with the ball when he got there.
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The Orioles’ offense was in a slumber for much of May, and it came alive in June. The Birds now hope that they aren’t reverting back to their antics from May, as they’ve been shutout on consecutive nights. The good news for the Orioles is that all it really takes is one game to get themselves back on track again. If they can muster a game with some big offensive output, the offense will snowball in a sense. That means that this afternoon’s game is huge for the O’s, as they attempt to set up a rubber match for tomorrow.
The Birds will send Chris Tillman to the mound in this afternoon’s game in Chicago, where he’ll be opposed by Jeff Samardzija. Game time is set for just after 2 PM. With that said, I want to wish everyone in Birdland a very happy Fourth of July today. My hope is that all readers are celebrating our nation’s birth with family or friends today at BBQ’s, the beach, pools…all while watching or follow Orioles baseball! But let us never forget why we celebrate today as an anniversary of freedom, and may we always remember the sacrifices that were made in that vain.
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